- The church says it acquired the land in 2003 and 1999 but after building a church and other facilities, it left some parts undeveloped.
- Members claim the land was bought by the church, under the Redeemed Gospel Church, for Sh20 million more than 20 years ago.
A land dispute pitting Mombasa-based televangelist Wilfred Lai of the Jesus Celebration Centre against squatters, some of whom also happen to be members of his church, has spilled into the courts with each party accusing the other of invading the suit property.
The dispute now puts at stake the church’s Sh1.2 billion investments as the squatters have moved to court accusing JCC of encroachment. In the case filed in Mombasa, the squatters want the church to surrender part of the property.
“We want Bishop Lai to surrender the suit premises that he did not purchase. We want him to also produce documentation indicating who sold the land to him,” Mr Juma Mwanzunga said.
The church is one of the biggest in Mombasa. The squatters maintained that part of the 50-acre parcel was not sold to Bishop Lai.
“We don’t have any problem with the parcels of land he bought genuinely. What we are opposed to is encroachment on the land that does not form part of his property,” Mr Mwanzunga said.
The JCC counters that it bought the land more than 20 years ago and that over time, it has put up various facilities worth Sh1.2 billion, which are under threat following continued invasion by the squatters.
The church says it acquired the land in 2003 and 1999 but after building a church and other facilities, it left some parts undeveloped.