A high-stakes legal battle is underway in Kisumu County, over Kibuye Market in Kisumu County, as one John Oyare Oyieko, armed with audacious claims and purportedly fake land titles, has demanded a colossal compensation of Sh7 billion from the County Government of Kisumu in exchange for the market property.

Kibuye Market, a vital commercial hub with a valuation of Sh2 billion, has been a cornerstone of economic activity in the region since its inception in 1971. It accommodates over 5,000 registered traders, playing a pivotal role in the County Government's revenue collection.

On average, the market generates Sh400,000 during weekends and Sh150,000 each weekday (Monday to Friday), drawing traders and shoppers from Nyanza, Western, and Rift Valley regions.

The impending crisis began when the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) initiated investigations in response to a complaint from the County Government.

The inquiry revealed that the market, a lifeline for thousands of traders, was under the stranglehold of Oyieko. Shockingly, Oyieko produced questionable land titles, purportedly giving him ownership of the entire 18-acre market land.

In a legal gambit that has taken the entire county by surprise, Oyieko has dragged the County Government to court. In his lawsuit, he audaciously seeks to have himself declared as the sole owner of the market property.

Even more astonishingly, Oyieko demands the immediate eviction of all traders, leaving the bustling marketplace to him, or alternatively, a jaw-dropping compensation of Sh7 billion in return for surrendering the property.

The staggering demand has left both the local government and the business community at Kibuye Market in disbelief.

Oyieko's apparent confidence in his claims raises questions about the authenticity of the land titles in his possession, with suspicions that shadowy individuals may be pulling the strings behind the scenes.

Responding to the gravity of the situation, the EACC took swift action by filing a lawsuit before the Kisumu Environment and Land Court on Monday.

The primary objective of the lawsuit is to challenge Oyieko's dubious claims and to nullify any fraudulent titles that may be in play.

Oyieko's track record indicates a pattern of similar behaviour with regard to other properties currently under scrutiny by the Commission.

The visit to Kibuye Market by EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak, alongside Kisumu County Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o and other government officials, marked a pivotal step in the ongoing process by the Commission to prevent the County Government of Kisumu from losing this valuable property to what appears to be a flagrant attempt at land grabbing.

CEO Twalib Mbarak addressed the concerned traders at the market and issued a stern warning.

He urged Kenyans to refrain from shortcuts when acquiring property and promptly report any individual believed to be in illegal possession of public property to the EACC for appropriate action.

As the legal battle intensifies, Kibuye Market's future hangs in the balance, casting a long shadow of uncertainty over the livelihoods of thousands of traders and the economic landscape of the region.

The EACC remains resolute in its mission to safeguard the interests of the County Government of Kisumu and ensure that justice prevails in the face of this extraordinary challenge.