Konzolo suffers blow in Karen land case
It was a double blow for city businessman Josphat Konzolo after his bid to lock out evidence in a disputed Sh8 billion parcel of land failed and his plea to seek the Court of Appeal’s guidance on the admissibility of the evidence rejected. The 134-acre land is at the centre of a dispute between Mr Konzolo, Muchanga Investments Ltd and Mrs Carmelina Mburu, the now deceased widow of former Nairobi provincial commissioner John Mburu. Mr Konzolo had sought to have the evidence by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) on his acquisition of the land rejected, saying it was gathered when all the commissioners had resigned. But Justice Elijah Ombaga admitted the evidence and turned down Mr Konzolo’s request to be allowed to seek guidance on the matter from the Court of Appeal. Urging Justice Ombaga to proceed with the hearing, lawyers Cecil Miller and Peter Wena for Muchanga Investments Ltd (MIL), which claims to be the bona fide owner of the land, said, “This case has been pending for the last five years and needs to be disposed of expeditiously, as huge losses are being incurred daily due to non-use of the vast city land.” Mr Miller said MIL bought the land between 1978 and 1983 from Barclays Bank International, now Barclays Bank of Kenya, the executors of the will of the original owner, Mr Arnold Bradley. But lawyer Steve Gikera, for Konzolo, pressed for a suspension saying, “The land in dispute is not perishable and can wait for the [Court of Appeal’s] decision.” Justice Ombaga allowed Mr Konzolo to file an appeal, but directed that the case proceed to the hearing. Mr Konzolo is defending his acquisition of the land through his company, Telesource Com Ltd, from a Mr John Mugo Kamau, for Sh96 million. Justice Ombaga summoned police Inspector Patrick Maloba, land registrar Wanderi Muigai, the company secretary of Barclays Bank of Kenya and a director of survey, Ms Pauline Gitimu, to testify. But Mr Miller protested the move, saying the witnesses had not recorded statements, and that a pretrial conference had been concluded. He also opposed the return of lawyer William Arusei for Ms Catherine Njeri Ng’ang’a, administrator of the estate of Ms Mburu.