The National Land Commission’s (NLC) decision to revoke a title deed to a piece of land in Upper Hill valued at Sh500 million that former President Daniel Moi gave United Arab Emirates’ first ruler, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, has been challenged.
The Kenya Association of Muslim Youth (KAMY) has written to NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri claiming that the land — at the center of a dispute between Mr Nahyan’s foundation and the Kenya Railways pension scheme — was reverted to government ownership in 1990 before Mr Moi gifted the UAE’s ruler with the property.
Dr Swazuri in February revoked the title deed held by the Al-Nahyan foundation, which has been in charge of the disputed property since UAE’s first ruler died in 2004.
He issued the directive after the commission found that the land was initially allocated to the Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme (KRSRBS) in 1965, and Mr Moi’s decision to gift the property to the UAE ruler 25 years ago was illegal.
KAMY argues that the Al-Nahyan foundation intends to use the land for projects that will uplift young Muslims in Kenya.
The land is yet to be developed and is the subject of a court battle between Al-Nahyan foundation and a firm identified as Pelican Engineering Construction Company.
Dr Swazuri is yet to respond to the letter sent to the NLC on Thursday.
The KAMY claims that oil and gas dealer Hass Petroleum has taken possession of the disputed land and has been developing it.
The lobby argues that Dr Swazuri has no authority to revoke title deeds as that mandate falls in the Environment and Land division of the High Court.
“Our clients have information that the said property did revert to the government and was eventually allocated to Al-Nahyan Foundation.
“We are advised by our clients that there is a company known as Hass Petroleum, which is already on the ground and there are developments being carried on,” the KAMY said through its advocates Ali & Company Advocates.
KRSRBS claimed that Kenya Railways Corporation was allocated a 6.88 acre piece of land in Upper Hill.
The pension scheme added that it had inherited most of Kenya Railways’ land after its formation in 2006.
The pension scheme said it was surprised to learn that the land had been subdivided and allocated to other parties, including the UAE president.
Mr Al-Nahyan’s trustees held that they were given a title after paying land rent, fees for survey, conveyance, standard premium and stamp duty.
But NLC questioned how survey of the disputed land was done, and faulted the trustees for not explaining why their documents referred to the property as “un-surveyed”.
The Al-Nahyan foundation argued that it was allocated the prime property after the UAE through Mr Nahyan requested for a piece of land.