Hide this judgement from your grandchildren, Justice Olao ‘advises’ man

High Court Judge Boaz Olao has caused intrigue by describing a man who sued two people he sold land to and is now trying to reclaim the same land, as a perfect example of greedy fraudsters seeking justice through the courts.

“If the list of shame containing the names of fraudsters who, propelled by unbridled greed, have walked through the gates of Busia Court purporting to seek justice is finally prepared, it will certainly contain the name of Jifnal Omailo Omoding,” Justice Olao stated.

“I would advise him to ensure that his children and grandchildren do not access this judgement. He should swallow his shame in private.”

Justice Olao made the sentiments in the opening of a judgement he delivered at the Busia High Court’s Environment and Land Court on November 23.

Jinail Omoding had sued Melenia Orupia and Florensio Opilio demanding back the land he claimed they fraudulently acquired.

He was seeking an order declaring that the registration of the two as the owners of the disputed land was fraudulent, illegal, unlawful hence null and void.

Omonding sought multiple orders against Orupia and Opilio including an order for eviction of the two, their families, agents and servants from the land.

The litigant had also sought compensation for “loss incurred” by not using the land during the period of more than 20 years it was occupied by the defendants (Orupia and Opilio).

He had claimed to be the administrator of the land after its original owner died, and actions of Orupia and Opilio of registering themselves as the proprietors of the said land was fraudulent.

However, it emerged that Omonding had sold the land measuring three acres to Orupia’s husband at Sh33, 000 on July 17, 1995.

Omonding had been injured on his eye and needed money for emergency treatment, opting to sell the land. He was given Sh15, 000 on the same day and the remaining amount was paid later.

Opilio bought the remaining part of the land measuring two acres at Sh37, 000 in presence of a village elder and other witnesses.

Omoding took both women to the Land Control Board offices on July 7, 1998 where they obtained the consent to transfer the land to themselves.

The two later partitioned the land and lived on until 2019 when Omoding went to court and sued them claiming the same land.

Justice Olao noted that there was evidence of an independent witness – James Elungata who told the court that he witnessed the same agreement between Omoding and the two women in 1997 which they went on to occupy and later partitioned.

The judge also noted that Omonding did not deny receiving the Sh33, 000 and the Sh37, 000 from Orupia and Opilio respectively.

The area Assistant Commissioner Lentente Saiteyu had produced the minutes of a meeting at the Amukura Land Control Board on September 3, 1998 which indicated that it was Omonding who sought consent to transfer the land to the two women he had later sued.

And Justice Olao said he noted that Omonding did not challenge the authenticity of the documents tabled by Saiteyu or cite ill motive.

The judge highlighted findings of a magistrate who had heard the case a few years earlier who had noted that Omonding was implicated in land transactions with the two he later sued.

The magistrate had stated that Omoding failed to reveal the material fact to the court yet the land had already been subdivided in his full knowledge.

“Clearly, the plaintiff’s (Omondings’) dalliance with dishonesty appears not to have started I this case. He cannot now complain about fraudulent conduct which he himself not only facilitated but also benefited financially therefrom. The doctrine of equitable estoppel will certainly come to the aid of the defendants (Orupia and Opilio) rather than the plaintiff (Omonding)”, Justice Olao ruled.

The judge dismissed Omonding’s suit and ordered him to pay the two defendants the cost of the case.

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