DCI probes Sh5 Billion English Point Marina developer for money laundering

Internal fights have exposed the soft white underbelly of the high end property

English Point Marina

The developer of the luxurious English Point Marina in Mombasa is under investigations of possible money laundering and facing a civil lawsuit from investors who say they paid Sh600 million to acquire apartments.

The property is located right by the shore of the Indian Ocean has 96 apartments, 8 penthouses and a hotel with 26 rooms.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has been granted permission by High Court Judge John Mativo to conduct an investigation into Pearl Beach Hotels Limited, the developer, for suspected theft through false billing of the apartment owners.

The developer has filed a petition to stop the probe on account that the issue was being handled in the civil suit filed by about 12 apartment owners.

Justice Mativo said that the objectives of the two matters were differentiated and that the investigation was not an overlap of the other lawsuit.

The investigations were meant to uncover a possible money laundering scheme and the suit filed by the apartment owners was meant to address possible discrimination of African owners.

Preliminary investigations have revealed possible offences relating to fraud and money laundering which can only be proved or disapproved by analysis of the documents requested.

The investigation powers conferred on the police are designed to serve a salutary purpose and the application is further misconceived as Pearl Beach Hotels has not demonstrated, beyond wild conjecture, how the request for information is in excess of the DCI’s authority,” Peace Maithya, a detective probing English Point Marina told the court.

The investors have accused the developer of discriminating against them and have hired veteran lawer John Khaminwa to represent them in court.

Rockefeller Foundation Africa President William Asiko, Jubilee financier Sam Kairu, and entrepreneur Booker Mbugua are among the disappointed buyers.

Susan Muigai, Kariuki Minju, Joseph Wanjui, Solomon Bundi, James Kinuthia, Resilient Investments, Everywhere Investments, and Silverline Investments are among the other names on the list.

According to the buyers, an internal document directed English Point Marina employees to discriminate against black African investors by enforcing regulations that prevent them from accessing the property.

Despite paying disputed service costs, the disappointed homeowners claim that electricity has been cut from certain flats and the management refuses to account for the money received.

“For instance, the apartment owners are required to serve an earlier notice to the management before visiting their apartments, which is an absurd requirement,” Khaminwa argues in court papers.

The management declined to allow the apartment owners’ servants access to their units for purposes of cleaning the units and keeping the same in a habitable condition in the absence of the owners,” he adds.

He also argued that English Point Marina has prohibited the buyers from renting out their flats, in violation of the purchase agreement, in which the management agreed to assist with sub-letting in exchange for 30% of revenue earned.

According to the lawyer, English Point Marina has been purposefully disconnecting security keys for unit owners in order to entice their tenants and guests to stay at the hotel instead.

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