The plan to revive Nanyuki-based Mount Kenya Textiles (Mountex) will take longer than expected after a court extended orders stopping the Ministry of Trade and Industrialisation from recovering or interfering with the Sh100 million site land.
Nyeri High Court Deputy Registrar Ruth Kefa extended the orders by two months to October 9, when a case filed by Braeburn Schools, which is also claiming ownership of the land, will be mentioned for further directions.
The dispute on the ownership of the land measuring 50.6 acres started in July after the ministry said it wants to reopen Mountex.
Operations at the factory have stalled for the last 17 years.
Breaburn director Robert Williams in an affidavit said the school is the registered owner of the land, having bought it for Sh40 million in 2009 from Kenya Fibre Corporation Limited (in receivership).
Since then, he said, no individual, corporation or organisation has ever challenged its ownership of the suit property, which the school bought following an advertisement placed in a daily newspaper by the joint receivership manager, Timothy Tiampati, on behalf of Kenya Fibre.
The commissioner of land allegedly issued consent of transfer for the suit property to Braeburn on September 16, 2009.
Braeburn said it had since then made payments of the land rates and annual permits to the county government, in addition to land rent.
The schools group also argued that it has invested in the suit property in form of infrastructure and machinery for production of all the furniture required by all its networks. They also use the land for rearing and breeding of sheep and growing trees for harvest.
In response to the petition filed by Braeburn, the government through the Attorney-General says Braeburn obtained the title for the land through fraud, terming the property public land.
“The petitioner did not acquire a good title to the suit property and is therefore illegally and unlawfully in possession and occupation of the suit property,” says the AG’s affidavit.
The AG said his office, the ministries of Industrialisation and Interior and the National Land Commission have reported to the relevant investigative authorities concerning fraudulent transfer and registration of the property.
Already, officials led by Laikipia County Commissioner Daniel Nyameti have moved in and evicted the occupants.
This came a day after Trade and Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya visited the site in the company of other officials in July.
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