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November 20, 2018

Waititu’s Sh250m prime downtown building at centre of wife’s arrest

The Jamii Bora building that is under construction. /COURTESY
The Jamii Bora building that is under construction. /COURTESY

Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu has bought a building on prime Nairoi real estate for about Sh250 million.

The seven story-building on Koinange Street is the place where his wife, Susan, was arrested yesterday while she was supervising alterations to extensions.

It is not clear when Waititu acquired the property from Jamii Bora Bank, but multiple sources say he may have bought it early this year.

“The owners of the building had an offer of Sh230 million late last year so Waititu came with an improved offer of about Sh250 million. He wants to make part of it a hotel,” a Jamii Bora employee said.

The building hosts many businesses, including a branch of Jamii Bora Bank. Yesterday, Waititu confirmed that the building was his but added that he would not discuss how and when he acquired it.

“We are undertaking some repairs and alterations on it. We can talk later about other things because I’m in a meeting at the moment,” he said before disconnecting his phone.

Read: Waititu's wife among 14 arrested over illegal Nairobi buildings

As a governor, Waititu’s monthly salary is Sh924,000, according to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission scales. A host of other allowances increase his emoluments to Sh1.4 million. Before his election, Waititu was Kabete MP, earning a salary of Sh621,250. He had run for Nairobi governor in 2013 but lost to Evans Kidero.

Little is known about other sources of income for the self-styled “father of ordinary folks” (Baba Yao). He was a councillor in the old Nairobi City Council and rose to become deputy mayor. Baba Yao is best known for his folksy demeanour, down-to-earth lifestyle and propensity for street combat.

It is possible he took a loan to buy the property. Earlier yesterday, Susan was charged in the Nairobi City magistrate’s court with occupying a building without an occupation certificate — contrary to the City Physical Planning Act.

She was charged alongside developer Robert Rukwaro who was accused of erecting a building without approval from the county government. Rukwaro had allegedly raised the building up to the eighth floor.

Also charged were 12 construction workers found in the building. They included Simon Ngare, Julius Mukala, Kyalo Musyoka, Dickson Mulinga, Paul Mutunga and Johson Wambua. Others were Dickson Kyalo, Joseph Muiruri, Charles Mwanzi, Sammy Kithus, Alexander Mbithi and Paul Shivanga. They denied the charges before principal magistrate Mary Njangi. Lawyer Manasses Mwangi who represented the suspects requested for lenient bond terms.

Rukwaro was released on Sh100,000 bail, while Susan and the rest were released on Sh80,000 bail. The case will be mentioned on September 6.

Susan mingled with other suspects in the cells where she was held from 10am to 2pm when she was escorted to court. In the dock, she sat beside other suspects.

Read: [VIDEO] I'm under Uhuru's thumb, Sonko says, admits illegal release of Waititu's wife

A phone conversation between Nairobi governor Mike Sonko and Waititu went viral before they were arraigned. In the video recording, Sonko, notorious for recording and publicising private calls, is heard promising — and proceeding to order the release of Waititu’s wife.

Sonko claimed he is implementing a presidential directive but will “break the law” and release Waititu’s wife. But he refuses to help the others arrested, advising the Kiambu county boss to call State House.

Waititu tells Sonko, “Achilia mama na watu wote, Sonko bwana ... unakumbuka vile tumezunguka na wewe hii Nairobi? Na bado tunaenda mbali (Release my wife and all the others. Remember how we struggled in Nairobi ... we are still advancing)”.

Sonko replies, “Navunja sheria kwa kuwachilia mama because wewe ni colleague wangu. Lakini hao wengine pigia mdosi ama Waita. (I’m breaking the law by securing the release of your wife. Call the boss or Waita concerning the others).”

Waititu asks why his friend asks him to call State House, yet he is the county boss. At this point, Sonko says, “Ona, ona, unajua mimi Nairobi nimekaliwa na order inatoka juu (You see, in Nairobi I’ve been subdued. The order is from above.”

Also Read: KOT blast Sonko after orders for Waititu wife's release

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