Deputy President William Ruto has admitted that the land on which Weston Hotel sits was illegally acquired by the original owner.
He said he purchased the 0.773 ha plot legally as an “innocent purchaser”.
During an Interview on BBC’s Hardtalk, Ruto said it is unfortunate that the saga surrounding the acquisition of the land has been amplified to “imply that the hotel occupies half of Nairobi”.
“For the record, the National Land Commission has made a finding that Weston was an innocent purchaser for value from somebody who bought it illegally and reparations have been made constitutionally to restore the land to Kenya Civil Aviation Authority. Those who sold the land to us must pay,” he said.
Last month the commission said it had established that the DP’s Weston Hotel is built on public land belonging to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.
The commission wants Ruto compelled to pay for the plot opposite Wilson Airport at the current market rate.
Last year it was valued at Sh300 million.
The commission, however, said it will not order the hotel to be demolished.
But KCAA, which is Kenya’s air travel regulator, insists the four-star hotel should be torn down because it is compromising safety.
The authority says buildings near the airport should not be higher than two storeys but the Weston has five floors.
Last year, it was revealed that Lands ministry’s top officials colluded with rogue KCAA officials to take over the piece of land.
KCAA’s manager for legal services Cyril Wayong’o told the National Land Commission that a scheme was hatched to grab the parcel in 1999.
Neither the Directorate of Civil Aviation (later transformed into the KCAA) nor the Transport ministry sought ownership papers.
And because the KCAA did not have papers, the land grabbers had their way.
On June 29, 1999, then Commissioner of Lands Sammy Mwaita wrote to the Directorate of Civil Aviation indicating he had received an application from a church group that wanted to build a church on the site.
The Directorate of Civil Aviation on July 8, 1999. objected and told Mwaita it had plans for the land so it could not be allocated to third parties.