After 36 years, Kenya’s former president’s crimes have caught up with him as Kenyan high court orders, ex-president Daniel Moi to pay $9.89 million (sh1 billion) for the 53-acre’s of land he forcibly took over when he ordered officials to register the land under his name.
The former president Daniel Moi, who served as the second President of Kenya from 1978 to 2002, was ordered by High Court judge Antony Ombwayo to pay Susan Cheburet Chelugui and her son David Chelugui the sum of Sh1 billion for illegally acquiring their land in 1983 valued over three billion shillings.
After being in possession of the land for 24 years, Moi sells it to a firm owned by the Jaswant Rai family. The family who occupied the land since 2007, were growing wheat on the land.
The Judge noted that the acquisition of the land was done in an “unlawful manner”, and “not worthy of any constitutional protection.” In its ruling, the High Court in Eldoret in Kenya’s Rift valley region said Moi’s action was unlawful and ordered both the former ruler and the Kenyan company Rai Plywood, linked to the Rai family, to pay Chelugui’s family about $10m, which is the current market value of the land.
Prior to now, Moi has also lost five parcels of land in Eldoret Town after the High Court ruled that they are public property.
“Land grabbing is theft. Daniel Moi stole land belonging to those poor peasants. The DCI and DPP should have charged him with theft. Moi should not just return the land he stole and fully restitute for the theft; he should serve time in jail,” stated Miguna Miguna, an outspoken lawyer in Kenya.
This is not the only case of land acquisition through illegal means in Kenya, however, this is historic as justice was served. Hopefully, other land grabbing situations would be met with the same hand of the law.