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January 18, 2019

Waititu, businessman lock horns over Sh250m property in Nairobi

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu addresses Limuru residents during a function to mark World Environment Day, June 5, 2018. /George mugo
Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu addresses Limuru residents during a function to mark World Environment Day, June 5, 2018. /George mugo

Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu is embroiled in a property dispute with a city businessman over a Sh250 million building in Nairobi’s city centre.

Waititu is said to have acquired the building along Koinange Street despite a court order stopping its transfer. He bought the building for Sh250 million early this year.

Businessman Otieno Odongo has accused Waititu of acting in impunity by purchasing the property despite an active suit on its ownership.

According to court documents seen by the Star, Suncourt building belonged to Rhoda Biwott before it was bought by Piedmont Investments Ltd in August 2000 for Sh50 million. Odongo is the director of Piedmont Ltd.

In 2002, Piedmont – according to documents in our possession – charged the property to Standard Assurance for Sh10 million for six months’ accommodation through Kipkenda Lilan Koech Advocates.

“Due to temporary delays in receipt of payment from the government, Piedmont requested for more time but Standard Assurance instead transferred the property on August 5, 2003,” Odongo told the Star.

Read: No longer at ease: Waititu, Nyoro feud hurting Kiambu

It is this move that sparked a vicious legal battle and Piedmont moved to court to block the transfer of the property to a third party.

Piedmont paid Sh12,945,466 in February 2004 to cover principal and interest. “Standard Assurance rigged out to accept the bankers cheque that payment had been submitted one day late. In between, they sought redress at the Rent Tribunal and Constitutional Court, both of which ruled against them,” Odongo said.

The seven-storey building hosts many businesses, including Delta Hotel and a branch of Jamii Bora Bank.

On March 5, 2010, the new owner evicted Piedmont from the property, leaving behind work done and materials on site. On scrutiny of their papers, Piedmont learnt that on May 26, 2004, Standard Assurance sold the property to Ufanisi Capital and Credit Ltd - a subsidiary of Standard Assurance.

Paper trail of the transfer of ownership showed Ufanisi Capital were represented by JK Bosesek and Company Advocates and transfer was made to them on February 20, 2010.

“And on same day Ufanisi sold and transferred to Superior Phone Communications, whose directors are Rahab Mwihaki Karoki and Winnie Wambui Karoki,” the Piedmont director said.

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

The transfer to Superior Phone was done despite an active lawsuit lodged by Piedmont.

“Through urgent application, the court granted ruling for cases to be heard in full provided they lodged the original title in court,” Odongo said.

“Due to Superior Phone’s failure to hand over the title, the court ordered the Lands Registrar on March 26, 2010, to cancel the title and revert to the original owner.”

It is at this point that Waititu is said to have acquired the property, ignoring the court case.

Attempts to get a comment from Mwikali and Waititu were unsuccessful as they did not respond to phone calls or text messages.

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