President Uhuru's kin loses battle for USD30 Million land

The President's kin has lost a battle for a 443-acre coffee estate

Mr. Ngengi Muigai lost the 25-year battle after the Court of Appeal dismissed the suit with the judges noting that it was in the interest of justice that the matter is laid to rest having been litigated in different courts.

KCB sold Mr Muigai’s Muiri Coffee Estate Limited in 2007 at a price of Sh70 million, after the coffee firm’s sister company, Benjo Amalgamated Limited, defaulted on a loan it took in 1989.

1992 dispute

The dispute began in 1992 when Benjo moved to court seeking to stop KCB from auctioning the land over failure to pay loan arrears.

The company had in 1989 borrowed Sh18 million from KCB to start a flower farm and it charged two plots as security but upon demand by the lender, it provided a further security in the form of land owned by Muiri.

KCB later disposed off the security when Benjo defaulted, kicking off a series of litigation. In total 14 suits were filed over the dispute.

Benjo and Muiri moved to court after the auction claiming the land was sold fraudulently sold and sought to stop Bidii Kenya Limited, the buyer, from taking possession of the land. KCB on its part asked the court to dismiss the cases stating that the issues raised had already been determined in other suits.

The High Court however declined both requests and instead directed the case proceed to full hearing.

The three entities appealed the decision separately whereas Bidii, the buyer of the contested property, became enjoined in the case.

At the appelate court, Benjo argued that KCB had sold the Sh3 billion coffee estate to Bidii for only Sh70 million, insisting the sale was in bad faith.

Statutory power

KCB however said it was given the power to exercise its statutory duty over the property through a consent that was entered between the parties in 1992 and which Benjo and Muiri had vigorously contested.

But in their ruling, the judges dismissed the claim on the validity of the consent, noting it had been affirmed in the previous suits.

The court allowed appeal by Bidii and KCB but dismissed cross appeal by Benjo, instead advising the two firms to accept the fact that they had lost the case.

They further directed Benjo to take care of the costs incurred by KCB and Bidii at the Court of Appeal, in a suit where the lender was represented by Philip Nyachoti and Bidii by Isaa Mansour.

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