Home » Kenyan billionaire families Moi, Rai secure court pardon in $8.2-million land battle

Kenyan billionaire families Moi, Rai secure court pardon in $8.2-million land battle

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Daniel arap Moi

The families of Kenya’s late President Daniel arap Moi and sugar baron Jaswant Rai have received a temporary pardon from the Supreme Court in Nairobi, putting an end to the Chelungui family’s demand for over Ksh1 billion ($8.2 million) in compensation for land allegedly taken in 1983.

According to Business Daily, the court suspended the decision of an earlier court action that ordered the Jaswant Rai and the Moi family to pay the Noah Chelugui family Ksh1.06 billion ($8.7 million) plus interest for the 53-acre parcel of land taken nearly four decades ago.

“Having determined that we have jurisdiction, we also find that the appellant has demonstrated that the appeal is arguable and that unless a stay is granted, it will be rendered nugatory,” justices Philomena Mwilu Mohamed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala, Isaac Lenaola, and William Ouko noted in a statement issued in response to the latest court ruling.

The court action comes nearly three years after the Environment and Land Court ruled that the contentious prime property within Eldoret municipality belongs to the estate of the late Noah Kimngeny Chelungui and that the family must be compensated at the current market value.

In response to the ruling, Jaswant Rai defended himself, claiming that he bought the land from Moi in 2007 after conducting a search and discovering that it belonged to the former president.

The Rai family is one of Kenya’s wealthiest. The family is the owner of Rai Group, Kenya’s second-largest sugar miller, which maintains active operations through West Kenya Sugar and Sukari Industries. The group is also the owner of Kinyara Sugar Works, Uganda’s second-largest miller.

With over 300,000 acres of prime land in their portfolio, the Moi family is said to be Kenya’s second-largest landowners after the Kenyattas.

According to unofficial figures in Kenyan media, the family’s fortune is estimated to be worth more than $3 billion.

Aside from its land portfolio, the family owns the vast majority of Standard Media Group, which includes the well-known television network Kenya Television Network, as well as newspapers and radio stations, and a significant 12-percent stake in Siginon Group, a Nairobi-based logistics and aviation handling firm.

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