Court Stops Harambee Sacco Top Official From Grabbing Land In Murang’a

By The Weekly Vision Reporter

Members of Harambee Sacco in Murang County are a relieved lot after Judge L.N. Gacheru of the Environment and Land Court, in a ruling dated February 29, 2024, officially recognized them as the legitimate owners of a parcel of land number Muranga/block 3/329 against the wishes the Sacco’s top bosses in Nairobi. The outcome of the case is a huge blow to Harambee Sacco’s national office in Nairobi, led by national Chairman Macloud Malonza. Mr. Malonza, through his legal representative, had argued that the Muranga branch officials did not possess the requisite authorization to enter into any contracts on behalf of the national officials. 

This declaration brings a sense of relief to the members after the judge issued instructions to the Harambee Sacco national office, directing them to carry out the necessary transfer procedures for the shares owned by the members to ensure that the titles are issued in the names of the respective members.

The judge gave orders of a permanent injunction restraining the Harambee Sacco national office, by themselves, servants, agents, and/or employees, from trespassing, occupying, living, staying, alienating, selling, transferring, and/or interfering in any way with the members’ quiet possession, use, occupation, development, and proprietorship of their respective portions of the land.

He further gave orders for a mandatory injunction directing the national office to order the subdivision of Murang’a Block 3/239 for purposes of processing titles in the members’ names. According to the members, through an allotment letter dated December 7, 1990, the Commissioner of Lands allocated to Harambee Sacco members Murang’a branch land parcel number Muranga/block 3/329 for the construction of affordable houses at a cost-effective price.

However, in the year 1992, the Murang’a branch of the sacco made the decision to forgo its plan of constructing affordable houses for its members, as it was deemed to be too expensive at the time. Instead, the branch chose to sell the vacant land to its members.

During the year 1998, a balloting process took place at Ihura Stadium in Murang’a County, where the branch distributed sections of the land to its members. After the balloting, members made the necessary payments to the branch, which consisted of processing fees, facilitation fees, survey fees, Municipal Council rates, and other expenses totaling about Ksh. 22.00 each.

The payments in question were duly executed and acknowledged by the Murang’a branch of the Sacco. In return, the members were granted allotment letters, which served as official documentation of their individual shares in the land.

Members averred that they are bona fide purchasers, having paid in full the purchase price for their respective plots within the suit property. It is worth noting that the branch made a firm commitment to ensure that the members who had purchased and completed the payment for the plots were granted possession. Furthermore, they had undertaken to initiate the processing of the titles in the names of these members.

Nevertheless, in a quick rejoinder, Harambee Sacco’s Legal Officer, Tikoishi Naikuni, alleged in a witness statement dated February 14, 2023, that the members had made payments for the property at the Muranga branch. He further stated that this particular branch was not authorized to handle the sale of the property and that the only officials with authority to execute the documents on behalf of the Sacco were the National Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer.

The evidence presented by the Harambee Sacco national office demonstrated that the Muranga branch officials did not possess the requisite authorization to enter into any contracts on behalf of the national officials. Consequently, Sacco took action by issuing a letter on March 30, 2015, which effectively nullified the subdivisions of the suit property.

It was his allegations that the Muranga branch of the Sacco issued allotment letters to members, and the said branch did not have a mandate to issue such allotment letters. Further, any document issued by the branch ought to have been signed by the national officials, and therefore, the said Muranga branch officials had no authority to sign contractual documents. He further confirmed that the process was cancelled because it was not sanctioned by the headquarters, the monies should have been paid to the headquarters but not the Muranga branch, and the allotment letters ought to have been signed by national officials.

The judgment reads in part, “Therefore, the defendant’s action is against the principle of fairness, and thus, it would be contrary to the dictates of good conscience and against the interests of justice for this Court to allow the defendant to keep to itself both the funds paid by the plaintiffs in respect of their respective portions of the suit property as well as the suit plots purchased by the plaintiffs.”.