December 5, 2022

Auctioneers Demolish House Over Ownership Dispute

Malindi-based Auctioneer demolish a house to allegedly recover rent arrears. (Photo By Mahenzo Katana)

By Mahenzo Katana

Email, thecoastnewspaper@gmail.com

A family of 8 in Malindi is languishing in the open air after auctioneers demolished the only house they’ve called home for decades before getting away with goods of unknown value.

Supervised by police officer’s from Malindi Police Station the house belonging to Maryam Hassan Abdalla and her tenants was demolished and confiscated under claims of enforcing a Court order over ownership dispute.

The auctioneer’s confiscated property and loaded onto two pick-up vehicles before driving off to unknown destination as a huge crowd of onlookers gathered at the site next to the Kanu Office Building in Malindi town, disrupting traffic along the busy Mombasa-Malindi-Lamu road.

Ms Maryam Hassan Abdalla said the demolition by Swiftway Auctioneers was as a result of disputed rent arrears amounting to Sh207,000 alleged to have accumulated since 2016.

According to Maryam, the house, which was built in 1964 used to belong to her late aunt’s husband, Mohamed Saeed Bahanan, an Arab male who died in 2001 at the age of 77 years and was survived by Maryam’s aunt Nuru Ahmed Bakari with no known children.

She said that her aunt died on June 10, 2017 and left the house in the hands of her siblings Abubakar Abeid Abubakar and Rukia Abeid Abubakar (Maryam’s mother), both of whom have since died – Abubakar in 2018 and Rukia in 2021.

“Immediately after the death of my aunt, a neighbour of Arab origin, who owns a popular restaurant in Malindi town, came and asked me to sell the house to him, but I declined because the house is a family property and we were in the process of formalizing the succession,” she said.

She said the neighbour continued pestering her to sell the house, promising to give her Sh1 million if she consented, but she remained adamant, saying she would not take money to give away family property without consulting the other members.

Unknown to her, a Mr. Saeed Mohamed Saeed Bahanan, a man claimed to be a son to the late Mohamed Saeed Bahanan, was declared the successor of the late Abubakar’s estate following a petition filed at the Kadhi’s court in Malindi and judgment entered on April 2, 2021.

The petition was filed by Said Awadh Dhaaban, who claimed to have been given the Power of Attorney and was heard and determined by Sheikh Twalib B. Mohamed, the then Malindi Kadhi.

“Upon reading the petition and perusing the annexure’s thereto, and upon hearing the petitioner from the evidence on record, the deceased’s sole heir is Saeed Mohamed Saeed Bahanan,” the kadhi said in his judgment and granted Mr. Dhaaban leave to sell the estate property and remit the proceeds to the heir.

However, Maryam says her deceased uncle left no known child, contending that if it was true her uncle had a son, the son would have at least attended her father’s burial 21 years ago or even sought to know where the remains of her father were interred.

She claimed her uncle had confided with her aunt that he was unable to sire any children and that it was not possible that he had a son in Yemen, who eventually became his heir.

She suspects that powerful forces looked for an impostor to inherit the estate and disposes her of her only source of income and asked relevant authorities and local politicians to come to her aid.

Ms Maryam Said Addressing Journalists after the demolition of house she alleges to have been secretly sold off by proxies of an alleged heir. (Photo/ Mahenzo Katana)

“I believe this is a ploy to disposes me of this property because I refused to sell the house to my neighbour. I appeal to the relevant authorities and our political leaders to intervene and save me from this injustice since I have been depending on this house for my livelihood,” Ms Maryam says.

On his part, Maryam’s brother Abeid Abubakar Abeid said he was offered Sh5 million to sell the house but declined.

“The two men of Arab descent said since my aunt was married to an Arab man, they would look for an heir in Yemen where the original owner of the property came from and buy the house,” he claimed.

Former Magarini Member of Parliament Joseph Kasena Yeri said Maryam had lived with her uncle and aunt since childhood and should be declared the heir since there is no known son born to the late Bahanan.

It was not immediately possible to get a comment from the buyer of the house as he is not known by the victims and the auctioneer’s staff were hostile to journalists and would not give any comments.

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