Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) has lost 90 acres of land that form part of Embakasi Barracks after the Supreme Court ruled that the land belongs to Nairobi County.
In a ruling, the Supreme Court noted that, although the Department of Defence proved that it has been in exclusive occupation and use of the property since 1986, it failed to prove that it acquired valid title to the piece of land.
The court ruled that KDF acted with the full knowledge and authority of the defunct Nairobi City Council (NCC) and the Commissioner of Lands but did not have a legal claim to the land.
"As matters currently stand, title to the suit property remains vested in Nairobi County which is the legal successor to the defunct Nairobi City Council," the judges ruled.
Supreme Court made the ruling in an appeal filed by Torino Enterprises which was claiming ownership of the land.
Torino moved to the apex court after the Court of Appeal lost a case in which they wanted the Department of Defence to compensate it Ksh15 billion for occupying the land.
The court had argued that the company did not own the land.
According to the court, the land was part of 5639 acres of freehold title in Embakasi. The parcel was subdivided and given to Kayole Estates Limited on February 21, 1964.
The parcel was later transferred to the defunct Nairobi City Council (NCC) on November 22, 1971.
In 1973, the land was subdivided into eight parcels including LR No. 22524, Grant No. IR 85966 measuring 83.910 Hectares.
Supreme Court heard that Torino acquired the property from NCC through an allotment letter dated December 19, 1999.
The company argued that the Department of Defence (DoD) encroached and fenced off 90 acres.
The company sought orders and damages for violation of its rights to the property.
Supreme Court ordered that KDF's occupation, retention, and continued occupation of the property amount to an illegal compulsory acquisition.
"On the first appeal, the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court and dismissed the appeal on grounds that the suit property was not unalienated government land within the meaning of Section 2 of the Government Lands Act (repealed)," the judges ruled.
"The court observed that it was private property and as a result, the Commissioner of Lands lacked the power to alienate or allocate it. Consequently, the court concluded that the private company had not acquired a valid interest in or over the suit property."