A family is counting losses after their home of 46 years in Nairobi’s Westlands area was demolished under unclear circumstances.
A private developer stormed into the home with a group of goons on Friday evening and effected an alleged court order, demolishing the premises and rendering the family homeless.
According to the Kenyan family of Asian descent, the demolitions were carried out despite a court order and a notice by the Nairobi City County Government both issued to stop the demolition.
Surprisingly enough, all this happened under the watchful eyes of police officers who did nothing but observe as the demolition team threw the family’s property out.
One member of the family, Avani Shah, who was overwhelmed by emotions painfully lamented about the injustice that was being meted upon them.
“They have finished my house, my family…thrown us out of our house for 46 years…under no ground or nothing…nothing at all,” Avani said.
On Monday, the demolition team returned on site to finish their assignment, which also included reducing the premises to the ground.
According to the affected family, a private company that goes by the name Lariak Properties came up to claim ownership of the one-acre property along the Westlands’ School Ways.
However, the Avani maintained that has been her matrimonial home for the past 22 years and still had 25 more years on its lease even as the private developer claimed they had owned the house since 2010.
“Somebody claiming they have had this house since 2010, but this house still has another 25 years on its lease. So, how did they get this land? Who is Lariak Properties,” she posed.
Avani revealed her father-in-law who passed away in 2010 owned the property, the same year Lariak Properties Limited allegedly acquired the property.
The company which was registered on July 15, 2002, has four directors namely Joel Kipchirchir Kiplagat who owns 10 shares, John Kimaiyo Rotich who owns 10 shares, Samuel Chepkwony who owns 5 shares and Nathaniel Kipkemoi who also owns 5 shares.
An individual who was only identified by Barasa went to Avani’s home and showed some papers claiming Lariak Properties Limited now owned the property which it bought from another pharmaceutical company.
"There’s a guy named Barasa who said he was coming to evict us. I told him under what basis he showed me some sort of paper saying that Lariak Properties has bought this place and I said ‘ut Lariak…they bought the property from Metro Pharmaceuticals and Metro Pharmaceuticals does not even own this land or this house so how can he evict us," Avani said.
“He said you have literally 1 hour to pick out what you want, but within 5 to 10 minutes I picked out a few things from the house and by then all his guys started entering the house and started throwing out all the things. Other guys started stealing whatever they could,” Avani said.
Avani told news reporters that her efforts to seek intervention from the authorities bore no fruits as some police stations did not respond apart from Spring Valley, which sent officers who did little to deter the ongoing activities.
She also said some MCA visited the site and said they would help but it would require some money which she gave out only for the MCAs to bring in another group of goons who tried to fight the goons at the premises but were not a match.