Written by Wanyonyi wa Wasike
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Former Mumias Sugar Company Dr. Evans Kidero.
CANE farmers fighting to reclaim the Nasewa farm in Busia County won another round after the High Court in Bungoma ruled that the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture is free to institute investigations into the controversial sale of the land.
The farmers who have sued former Mumias Sugar Company Managing Director Dr. Evans Kidero and nine others for illegally selling the land measuring 843 acres in order to recover a debt owed to former directors of the Busia Sugar Factory, that owned the land, were a happy lot following a ruling delivered by Bungoma High Court Judge Aggrey Muchelule.
Kidero’s lawyer Tom Ojienda had wanted the court to determine whether the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture should commence investigations into the matter.
But Muchelule ruled that the court had no powers to block parliament from investigating the matter.
Ojienda had also wanted the court to decide whether investigations by the police into the alleged crimes committed should proceed.
The case was postponed to September 21st to allow the Attorney-General to file records from the Ministries of Land and Finance in order to enable the court to ascertain exactly how the land was acquired.
The petitioners claim that according to an earlier agreement, the government was supposed to compensate them Ksh.100,000 per acre in order to acquire the land in which the factory was to be established.
But the farmers claimed that the valuation was latter reduced to Ksh.84,000 per acre and in December 1996, they were paid only Ksh. 34,000 per acre and forcefully evicted from the land.
However, documents presented in court show that the land was acquired compulsorily by the government in 1996 to establish the Busia Sugar Factory.
The claims by the petitioners have forced the Director of Public Prosecutions to order fresh investigations into the alleged forgery during transactions to acquire the controversial land by various parties.
When the case resumes for hearing on the 21st of September, the A-G is expected to furnish the court with information on whether people who were evicted from the land were compensated by the government.
Last week, Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa toured Busia County with the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Naivasha Mp John Mututho and announced that parliament will host a session in the county to commence investigations into how the Nasewa land was sold.
Addressing a rallies at Nambale market and Busia Stadium, Wamalwa who was flanked by Mututho and Lugari Mp Cyrus Jirongo announced that the Kidero and all those adversely mentioned in the alleged sale of the land shall be summoned before the committee to shed more light on the emotive matter.
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