I bought beach plot, Raila tells court
Mr Odinga, who was testifying at the Malindi High Court, told Lady Justice Helen Omondi he bought the plot in 1999 from former Malindi mayor Frederic Kazungu Diwani.
However, Mr Diwani later fraudulently sold the same plot to a British citizen, Mr John Presser Unsworth, and appeared in a Kilifi court in 2009 where he admitted the offence and was fined Sh800,000.
Now, Mr Unsworth wants the land to which he claims to have ownership documents declared his and has already started fencing it.
Challenged by Mr Unsworth’s lawyer Ms Virginia Shaw to name his neighbours around the disputed plot, Mr Odinga said he did not know any as the area was not occupied.
Planted palm trees
“When we bought the property in 1999 from Mr Diwani, we inspected it and found it was vacant. We planted some palm trees on it. But early last year when I went to the plot, I found someone had trespassed on it,” he said.
Asked whether he was aware that a restriction over ownership had been put on the plot by one Mr Alex Ramica Chakacha who was one of the defendants in the suit, Mr Odinga said: “This is fantasy”.
The case involves Mr Unsworth as the applicant and Kango Enterprise Ltd, which is the PM’s company, the Registrar of Lands at Kilifi and Mr Chakacha as the defendants.
Mr Odinga is represented by lawyers Otiende Amolo, John Ligunya and Felix Nyauchi while Mr Diwani is represented by Mr Richard Otara.
Earlier, Justice Omondi dismissed Ms Shaw and Mr Otara’s objection to two documents produced in court by lawyer Omolo, saying, they were legally introduced before court.
Ms Shaw and Mr Otara had argued that the documents were introduced in court “at the 11th hour”.
Before the hearing, Mr Odinga had kept the court waiting for the better part of the morning. According to court schedule, the case was set to start at 11am.
But Mr Odinga, who was escorted by MPs Gideon Mung’aro (Malindi), Ali Hassan Joho (Kisauni) and a host of Malindi councillors, arrived in court at 1.18pm after the case had already began. He was composed as he answered a barrage of questions from his lawyer, Ms Shaw and Mr Otari, causing laughter at times with his answers.
For example, when he was asked by Mr Otari whether he had seen any land search document, he repeated several times: “Every transaction was done by my lawyer.”
Asked whether he bought the land from the original owners, Mr Odinga said this would be surprising because “the original owner of the land is God”.
All vehicles were cleared off the court premises and all other cases suspended to accommodate that of the PM. When he came out of court, the PM addressed a big crowd outside.
He told journalists he supported calls for MPs’ salaries to be taxed, saying this was in accordance with the new Constitution.