Just before he met his untimely and gruesome death, businessman Jacob Juma was fighting to have Ruto forced to demolish Weston hotel and surrender the “illegal title” to the National Land Commission for cancellation.
“Your petitioner humbly prays that the third respondent [Weston Hotel] immediately surrender the illegal title deed to the National Land Commission and demolish the illegal structures already erected on the said property,” Juma asked the High Court as unveiled in a report published in a local daily.
Part of the evidence adduced in court by the businessman are two letters by two Permanent Secretaries in the Ministry of Transport demanding the issuance of the title in favour of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA).
The first letter was in 2001, by Transport’s Muthaura and the other in 2003 by Sammy Kyungu.
Patrick Osero, a close associate of the DP’s, last year insisted that the Weston was his. Osero was subsequently suspended as chairman of the Agricultural Finance Corporation on suspicions of engaging in graft.
However, annual 2010 company returns indicate that the hotel is controlled by the Ruto family.
The returns indicate that Rael Kimeto, believed to be Ruto’s wife, owns 25 per cent of the shares, while his daughter, Charlene Chelagat, also owns 25 per cent.
According to the 2010 returns, Weston Hotels Limited is owned by Matiny Limited, Rael Kimeto, Merica Holdings Limited and Eric Kipkoech Ng’eno.
Weston Hotel has since been established to have been built on public land and the transfer of the plot was done against the advice of senior government officials, including Francis Muthaura.
According to the Survey Plan Folio Number 198 and Register Number 169, registered on January 31, 1990, the land was public land allocated to the Directorate of Civil Aviation.
The Star reports than on August 22, 2001, Muthaura, who was then the PS in the Ministry of Transport and Communication, wrote to his counterpart in the ministry of Lands, Nehemia Ng’eno, asking Ng’eno to issue a title deed in favour of the Directorate of Civil aviation after a Ms Kikubi applied to be allocated the land.
“In order to safeguard ownership of the government plot, which seems to attract the attention of property developers, I request that your office issue a title in favour of DCA,” said Muthaura, in letter Ref No MTC/CONF/6.111/(55).
Despite Muthaura’s plea, the land was allocated to Priority Limited, a company associated with Ruto, on August 30, 2002, when Ruto was Minister for Home Affairs and a few months before Kanu was removed from power by the Mwai Kibaki-led Narc.
In January 2003, the then new PS for Transport and Communication, Sammy Kyungu, wrote to the then Lands PS Francis Baya noting that public land had been fenced off by a private developer.
“I want to further reiterate the earlier position of this Ministry, that the said plot is not available and is among the very important inventory of assets which the Government is expected to transfer to the KCAA and should not be allocated to any other party,” Kyungu warned in a letter to the then new Lands PS Baya.
“In order to safeguard ownership of this government plot, which seems to attract a lot of interest among private developers, I request once again and as a matter of urgency, to prevail upon the Commissioner of Lands to issue a title deed in favour of KCAA. Any wrongful allotment of and issuance of a title deed that may have been given to any other party should be revoked,” he added.
URP Baringo Central MP Sammy Mwaita, a close ally of Ruto’s, was at the time Commissioner of Lands.