Environment

Gatundu land feud linked to the Kenyatta family

Former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

A 67 year-old-woman and her two children are battling in court over a prime property. This 1.5 acre piece of land was being held in trust by the lady on behalf of her two children.

In a court affidavit filed at the Thika Environment and Land Court, Mr. Dickson Muiruri Njoroge and his sister Esther Nyokabi Njoroge allege that their mother Virginia Wairimu Njoroge sold the  plot of land located in Ichaweri to a company (Southbrook Holdings) without their consent. The two petitioners further claim that they had turned down an offer for the land from Mama Ngina Kenyatta.

From the court documents, Mr. Muiruri claims that in 2017 he and his mother were invited by Mama Ngina to her Muthaiga home for purposes of discussing the sale of Plot No 1520/1521 and 1522. However, they never agreed on the sale of the property.

“After the meeting, and without my knowledge, my mother transferred the property to her own name without going through the due succession process,” says Mr Muiruri in the affidavit.

Bearing these events in mind the two petitioners placed a caveat emptor on the land -which was acknowledged by the Gatundu Land Registry in August 18,2018.

The land holds a block of flats which are currently occupied by GSU personnel guarding the Kenyatta home. The GSU officers are said to have gone to the property and evicted all tenants.

However, the property which is located 2km from Gatundu town and just across the road from the Kenyatta’s Gatundu home is said to have been bought by Southbrook holdings at a cost of Ksh. 20 million. This is in spite of a court order issued by Hon. Justice Lucy Gicheru restraining Virginia Wairimu from selling or transferring the property.

In the ruling, the judge also ordered that any rent proceeds from the commercial and residential units which are situated within the land should be deposited in an escrow account run by lawyers elected by the mother and her offspring pending settlement of this dispute.

A look into Southbrook Holdings from the Registrar of companies reveals that only three directors have been listed in the company’s form CR1. Among the three shareholders two are listed with no shares whereas the third, Ropat Nominees limited, not only holds 100 shares but has also been listed as a foreign company shareholder.

Insiders reveal that the name Ropat is a play on the first names of the other two shareholders – Robert Kimani Ndungu and Patrick Kamau Gacheru- since the names Robert and Patrick if combined form the name Ropat.

Further revelation from the registrar of companies indicate that Southbrook was registered in July 2016 with Leonard Irungu, Herman Gikungu and Rose Wamaitha Ng’ote listed as the initial directors. However, they have since resigned to pave way for Ropat, Mr Gacheru and Mr Ndung’u.

Unfamiliar sources indicate that Ropat Nominees Limited is listed among the shareholders at the Commercial Bank of Africa with a 22.5% stake in the bank. It has also retained the same stake after the CBA-NIC merger. The Kenyatta family has been widely linked to the ownership of NCBA. 

Southbrook Holdings have reportedly threatened to evict the petitioners from the suit properties. Consequently, the two are subject to homelessness and being rendered destitute.

Southbrook have claimed innocent ownership of the disputed land. In the court documents they claim they were issued with the title deed on December 20, 2018 after a successful sale agreement with Ms Wairimu on October 30, 2018. They aver that it was a willing-buyer-willing-seller transaction and that the temporary orders that were issued had already been overtaken by events.

Hearing of this case is set to continue on December 10, 2019.


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