Lease of 17 Hectares in the Balance as Court Rules Against Tourist Lodge
A lawsuit filed by a tourist safari lodge firm accusing eight landowners of failing to renew its lease has been dismissed by acourt.
Oltukai Mara Limited, which runs tented camps in Amboseli National Park, sued the eight after they failed to renew their lease, which was set to expire on September 27, 2022.
The 19.70-hectare parcel of land is located southwest of Narok town.
Oltukai stated that they refused to renew the lease without lawful cause and without advancing any reasons for doing so, and they sought their renewal.
However, the court dismissed the suit, stating that the company should have taken the dispute to an arbitrator as stipulated in thelease agreement.
The parties had previously signed four other leases, the first of which was signed in 1989 for a term of 13 years for the operation of a tourist camp. The most recent lease began on October 1, 2011 and expiredon September 27, 2022.
“The principle lease, which was express on referral of any question arising to arbitration, tied all others subsequent leases flowing from it.Otukai Mara limited should have sought audience first with an
arbitrator before coming to this court,” Justice Charles Mbogo said.
Based on the arbitration requirement, he determined that the court lacked the authority to address the disputed issue.
The court concluded from the leases that the parties’ relationship was contractual in nature.
According to Justice Mbogo, the dispute between the parties arose from a commercial agreement in which the company now claims a pre-emptive right to renew the lease.
According to the landowners’ lawyer, the parties entered into four leases and agreed that any disputes would be resolved through arbitration.