A court ruling has caused major disruptions for Safaricom and Decko Africa Limited to install fiber cables in the Thika Greens estate. The court has declared that the two companies must only proceed with the installation after obtaining proper consent from the relevant parties, including Thika Greens Ltd, the estate management company, and the homeowners.
In a landmark ruling, Justice Lucy Gacheru ordered that the two firms be penalized with a sum of Sh500,000 as damages for their previous trespassing on the property. Furthermore, a permanent injunction was issued, prohibiting the companies and their agents from conducting any further work on the 410-acre property without obtaining consent from the relevant parties.
The importance of internet services has been noted by the judge, who declined to order the removal of the fiber installations and any other materials erected on the property. It is particularly relevant in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed many operations and services online, including basic ones. However, the judge emphasized that the companies can still bypass the requirement for proper consent before conducting their work.
The court ruling emerged from a suit filed by Thika Greens Ltd in 2019, claiming that Decko and Safaricom had trespassed onto the property and installed a fiber network without proper permission or consent. The suit was joined by 164 homeowners at the estate, who had invited the companies to install the network. However, Justice Gacheru ruled that the welfare group could not consent to access the property, as they were not fully representative of all the owners/residents of the property.
In addition, the court noted that while a Management Company, Waterfalls Country Homes Management Limited, has been incorporated, it still needs to be fully operational as Thika Greens Ltd has not ceded control as required by law. It means the Management Company cannot consent to install the fiber network.
The recent court ruling serves as a reminder of the importance of obtaining proper consent before conducting any work on private property. It also highlights the need to incorporate a fully operational Management Company in estates, as this provides a more comprehensive and representative approach to property usage and development decisions.