ISSUES RAISED BY JUDGE
The judge noted that there was no evidence from the Lands ministry to confirm that Mrs Cardozo (below) had relinquished her interest in the land by the time Mr Otachi allegedly bought the property.
She criticised Mr Otachi for failure to produce the transfer form to show that indeed the property was transferred to him by the Esono couple.
And without evidence of payment for the stamp duty by Mr Otachi, the judged said Mrs Cardozo had the legal right to the property.
Sh2.3mx Amount which businessman Robert Kibagendi Otachi says he paid for property in 1997
has since continued paying both the land rent and rates.
On the other hand, Mr Otachi claimed he bought the property from a couple, Mr Esono Aguesomo and Mrs Teresita Esono, in 1997 for Sh2.3 million. He contended he was the duly registered owner and had also been paying land rent and rates.
He denied suggestions by Mrs Cardozo that he acquired the land through fraud.
Mr Shahid Wissanji, a director of Masai Mara Sopa Lodge Ltd, testified that Mrs Cardozo had given the power of attorney to the lodge, which had kept the original title to the property. He said Mrs Cardozo was elderly and a resident of Canada.
He told the court that Mrs Cardozo never transferred the property to a third party, and that Mr Otachi allegedly obtained the land title on April 8, 1997, which was 11 years after Mrs Cardozo had been issued with hers.
During cross-examination, Mr Wissanji denied knowledge about the sale of the land to Mr Otachi.
Although he admitted there was no existing structure on the land, Mr Wissanji said it remained a mystery how the property changed from Mrs Cardozo’s name to that of Mr Otachi.
Responding to the suit, Mr Otachi said in January 2008, three people, a woman and two men, visited the disputed land and asked him what he was doing on a private property.
He said he explained to them that it was his.