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GBM Kariuki loses Sh65 million house bid

Saturday, November 30, 2013 - 00:00 -- BY JILLO KADIDA
Judge GBM Kariuki Photo/File
Judge GBM Kariuki Photo/File

THE Appeal Court judge who is entangled in a legal dispute with a bank yesterday lost a bid to bar the latter from selling a posh house which is at the centre of the dispute.

Judge GBM Kariuki who accused Equity bank of frustrating his efforts to acquire the house in Lower Kabete was awarded Sh500,000.

Kariuki was allowed 14 days to lodge an appeal against ruling by high court judge Jonathan Havelock which authorised the bank to dispose the house.

Justice Havelock in his ruling held that he could not give an order for performance of contract as there was no contract.

However he noted that it would be just and equitable that judge Kariuki should be entitled to some compensation for time he spent planning to purchase the house and expenses incurred. Justice Havelock ordered the bank to pay the appeal judge Sh500,000 which will compensate him sufficiently.

Judge Havelock’s ruling arose out of case filed by Judge Kariuki against Equity bank accusing it of breach of contract.

Kariuki had accused Equity bank of failing to give his lawyers its accounts details to facilitate the sale.

The cheques he had drawn in favour of the bank were later deposited in a joint interest earning account after a court order.

Kariuki visited the property at Lower Kabete Road on May 18, 2011 with a bank official and a friend and the owner Maina Mwangi was happy with his offer of Sh65 million.

He later instructed his lawyers at Ndungu, Njoroge and Kwach to facilitate the 10 per cent payment to Equity as he wanted the property urgently.

However, the bank would not give their account details even though he was supposed to pay by May 21, 2011.

Kariuki was later told the property had been sold to another man for Sh67 million.

He said two bank officials alleged he intimidated them and threatened to use his connection in the media to embarrass the institution.

The house belonged to Mwangi but was seized by the bank when he defaulted in servicing the mortgage. Equity has argued that any offer should have been accepted by the bank and Mwangi for the sale to go through.

The bank has denied any breach of contract arguing that the judge expressed interest to buy the house like other interested parties.