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Friday, 3 June 2011
Appeal judges block sale of Somalia’s Nairobi embassy
By NATION CORRESPONDENT
Posted Friday, June 3 2011 at 21:36
The Court of Appeal has stopped Somalia from selling its Sh400 million embassy in Nairobi.
Appellate judges Erustus Githinji, Philip Waki and Alnashir Visram blocked the troubled transitional government from disposing of the asset.
The property had been sold to a city trader, Mr Suleiman Rahimtulla Omar, for Sh15 million by former ambassador Ahmed Sheikh Mohammed.
The commissioner of lands registered the property in the names of Mr and Mrs Omar in June 25, 1995 when they finished paying for it.
The court, however, blocked the sale in the interest of justice.
“The property, which lies on a 2.5 acre plot in Spring Valley, Nairobi, belongs to the foreign state. Its current value is Sh400 million. We restrain the government of Somalia from selling or disposing of it pending hearing and determination of an appeal filed by the appellants (Mr Omar and his wife),” the three judges ruled.
Mr and Mrs Omar have named Mr Musa Hersi Fahiye, Muhammed Omar, the Republic of Somalia, Kenya’s Attorney General, the Registrar of Titles and the Commissioner of Lands as respondents.
They are challenging an order by Justice Mbogholi Msagha handing back the property to the Somali government on December 7, 2010.
Mr Justice Msagha said a former ambassador had no right to dispose of the property even if there was no government in Somalia.
Lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga for the traders urged the three appeal judges to block the Somali government from disposing of the property.
“Justice Msagha erred in disregarding the provisions of Sections 23 and 24 of the Registration of Tiles Act which conferred on the appellants (Mr and Mrs Omar) absolute and indefeasible ownership.”
Mr Nyaoga said the right to the property could be denied to the appellants only on grounds of “fraud or misrepresentation to which they were party.”
The lawyer submitted that Mr and Mrs Omar were bona fide purchasers of the property.
He urged the court to preserve the property by directing the respondents who enjoy diplomatic status not to dispose of it.
In their ruling, the three judges said the appeal was not frivolous and directed the parties to file substantive issues for full hearing on a date to be fixed by the registry.