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It’s brother versus brother in Sh20 billion city estate fight

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They are among the most elegant residential estates in the country, with residents expected to enjoy the serene environment presented by the beautiful trees surrounding them.

But, for a few months, homeowners in two city estates have not known peace as they fight with their developers over unfulfilled promises such as a gym, swimming pool and other amenities.

What was thought to be a done deal has now spilt to the corridors of justice as owners demand what they were promised on buying their homes.

One of the estates is Kihingo Village, also known as Waridi Gardens in Kitisiru, Nairobi, while the other is Oryx Villas in Lavington.

One pits a brother against his younger sibling supported by homeowners, while the other features eight buyers, among them a sitting MP, a judge and the property developer.

While obtaining an order blocking the development of an empty plot in Lavington, Senior Counsel Paul Muite told Justice Elijah Obaga last year they were apprehensive that they might wake up one day to find a septic tank built on the disputed plot gone.

He said the tank and soak pit for the nine maisonettes in the compound is erected on a disputed plot, with both properties accessed through a common gate.

According to Mr Muite, when his clients purchased the maisonettes known as Oryx Villas, they were promised that a piece of land adjacent to the homes would be amalgamated into one.

He further said the deal would have seen the developer build a gym, swimming pool, gardens, driveways and other amenities on the empty plot. Buyers were also entitled to apply for membership and ownership of one share of Muthangari Gardens.

It is this claim that they have kept reminding the developer to comply with as agreed.

All was well until September 24 last year when they were served with an order from the county government stating that they had illegally blocked an access road to the second plot.

The director of planning, compliance and enforcement at City Hall issued an order allowing Guangzhou Villas, a new developer, to remove a gate and wall blocking an access road to the plot within 48 hours.

The county government is supporting the developer and wants an order blocking the planned construction lifted.

In a response filed in court, Ms Beatrice Kimathi, the planning compliance and enforcement officer in charge of Dagoretti North, wants the order obtained by the homeowners lifted, stating that it was perpetuating an injustice.

But buyers, led by Angela Musimba, Justice Joel Ngugi, Jane Sigilai and others stated that they were facing the danger of being deprived of their means of sewage disposal if Guangzhou Villas Ltd is allowed to proceed with the planned construction.

The entry of Guangzhou into the dispute, they say, is a sham and intended to defeat the course of justice. This was because Ms Patricia Mwihaki, a major shareholder in the company and the wife of Fred Rabongo, is also a director and shareholder of three other companies involved in the dispute.

Mr Muite said the incorporation of Guangzhou Villas was for the sole reason of defrauding them of the property.

Guangzhou Villas, which wants to develop the disputed plot, told Justice Obaga that they were suffering losses with the order stopping the development still in force.

Through lawyer Mwenda Royford, the company told the court that the order should be vacated because it was issued based on an agreement that they were not privy to. He also said Guangzhou has been sued wrongly.

The homeowners, including Musimba, Stephen Githinji, Charles Njuguna, Evans Sigilai and Janet, Justice Ngugi, Sylvia Kang’ara and John Wachira, obtained orders stopping Guangzhou from accessing and developing the plot.

They have sued Mr Rabongo and his wife Mary, Daniel Ogola, Impulse Holdings, Muthangari Gardens Management Ltd and Dayax Investments Ltd.

It is their contention that none of the defendants has given them copies, despite requests, of the intended developments, on the nature of the developments and there has been no consultation regarding the same issue.

“It is, therefore, amply clear that Impulse Holdings fraudulently held itself out as the registered owner of the subservient property, when it well knew that the said property was not registered in its name,” stated Ms Sigilai in an affidavit.

Guangzhou, on its part, said it is the rightful owner of the plot, pursuant to a transfer registered on May 7, 2019.

In an affidavit sworn by Patricia Mwangi, a director of Guangzhou, she said Impulse Holdings or Oryx Villas have never owned the second plot.

“The plaintiffs are neither the registered owners of the property registered under Guangzhou Villas nor do they have any beneficial interest in it. The applicant is a stranger to the plaintiffs’ allegations on purported amalgamation of two parcels of land,” she said.

According to Guangzhou, the only common interest is the access road and the shared boundary.

In Kitisiru, Nairobi, Kenyans have been treated to theatrical scenes as two brothers battle for control of an estate estimated to be worth Sh20 billion and known as Kihingo Village (Waridi Gardens) Ltd.

The upmarket estate has 55 palatial houses and the two siblings are battling for control of the multi-billion-shilling property inherited from their father, the late Joseph Augustine Gethenji.

The dispute stems from the control of a Sh4 billion club house, which offers various recreational services to homeowners, including a swimming pool, steam bath and jacuzzi.

The club house, popularly known as Bustani building, is managed by the developer of the estate of Kihingo Village (Waridi Gardens) Ltd-KVWGL.

Homeowners are the only ones who enjoy the facilities at a certain rate.

KVWGL is managed by Kihingo Village (Waridi Gardens) Management One Ltd (KVWGMOL), whose shareholders and directors are Fredrick Gitahi Gethenji, former Tetu MP James Ndung’u Gethenji and Chacha Mabanga.

Through a Memorandum and Articles of Association, KVWGMOL is the controlling shareholder of KVWGL, with a total of 117 shares.

The manager or developer of the estate has two subscribing shares, leaving 115 shares and KVWGMOL, popularly known as Management One, with 60 shares while the house owners have 55 shares.

The brothers have disclosed to the High Court in their various cases that during the voting to pass resolutions on how the managing company will carry out its affairs, the controlling shareholder board of directors appoints a proxy, who votes on its behalf. This has 62 shares and, therefore, has the swing vote.

According to court documents and those filed at the Company Registry in the Attorney-General’s Office, Mr Gitahi resigned on September 20, 2011 and ,after 19 months, he was replaced by Mr Mabanga as a director in Management One Ltd with effect from March 13, 2013.

In his resignation letter, Mr Gitahi alleged: “Despite several warnings by legal counsel of the illegality of the company structure it continues to be run by only two directors instead of seven as stipulated in law. I cannot and will not be held liable against any legal action.”

The board of directors of KVWGL are Mr Ndung’u, Mr Gitahi, Naresh Mehta, Eric Govani, Mr Mabanga, Amee Chalishazar, Sheetal Khanna and Muhib Noorani.

After his resignation, Mr Gitahi lost the powers to manage the company and the firm is now being overseen by Mr Ndung’u, who is also the chairman of KVWGL.

Because of the constant wrangling police have, on two occasions, picked up Mr Ndung’u and once charged him in court.

In a bid to wrestle control of the multi-billion-shilling estate from Mr Ndung’u, some homeowners held a special general meeting on April 13 last year, where changes were made in the management by removing Mr Ndung’u.

Judges Loise Komingoi, Margaret Muigai and Wilfrida Okwany have given orders to maintain the status quo, keeping Mr Ndung’u at the helm of the estate.

But homeowners, through Kifaru Investment Ltd (KIL), Wanjiru Shinga, Kishorkumar Dhanji Varsani, Harji Dhanji Varsani, Samuel Wambu Mwangi, Mohan Singh Panesar and William Pike, are opposed to the move, claiming that the court should allow them to appoint a reputable agent to manage the estate.

Among the orders they seek is one compelling KVWGL and KVWGMOL to immediately restore utilities and services to all residents of the estate at their expense.

The seven are also seeking to compel the Registrar of Companies to effect changes in the company register and records in accordance with the award of July 28, 2016 and the decree dated February 15, 2019 by removing all reference to Class B shares (the 60 controlling shares held by KVWGMOL in KVWGL).

They are also seeking to remove all purported Class B shareholders (Ndung’u, Gitahi and Mabanga).

The estate sits on 37 acres with self-contained houses, each standing on half an acre, but despite all this, peace still eludes residents.

By Nation.co.ke

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Pricey tomatoes push up the cost of living in February

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The high cost of tomatoes contributed to a spike in the cost of living in February with overall prices of goods and services in the economy increasing by 6.37 per cent.

This was a nine-month with the increase in general prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks standing at 10.58 per cent, year-on-year.

In January, inflation rate, or the annualised percentage change in price in a basket of goods, stood at 5.78 per cent.

Price of a kilogramme of tomatoes, whose high price has been the butt of many jokes online, increased by 62.4 per cent from Sh82.4 in the same month last year to Sh133.8.Another foodstuff that saw its price rise at a fast rate was maize grain (loose), with a kilogram retailing at Sh50.8, an increase of 42.8 per cent compared to the same period last year

.A kilogramme of onions touched Sh110.29 from Sh89.41, according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

“The increase in inflation was driven by increase in prices of several food items outweighing decrease registered in respect of others,” said KNBS.

Sukumawiki

“Notably, the prices of tomatoes increased by 62.4 per cent in February 2020 compared to the cost in February 2019. However, prices of mangoes and loose maize grain dropped by 8.39 and 1.3 per cent respectively.”While the heavy downpour depressed the supply of tomatoes, it was a boon for other foodstuff such as Sukuma Wiki.A kilogramme of sukuma wiki retailed at an average of Sh40, this was 15.4 per cent lower compared to Sh47.3 in the same month in 2019.

Mangoes, potatoes, carrots and spinach also saw their retail prices decline during this period.House rents went up, with the index on housing, water, electricity , gas and other fuels increasing by 0.47 per cent.

“However, during the same period, the cost of electricity consumption kerosene dropped,” said KNBS.

A litre of petrol retailed at Sh113.3 last in February, an increase of 12 per cent, from Sh101.13 in January.An inflation rate of 6.37 per cent remains within the Central Bank of Kenya’s target of between 2.5 and 7.5 per cent.

By Standard

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Uhuru’s housing project in limbo as Treasury CS says there is no money

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President Uhuru Kenyatta’s pet project of affordable housing for the country is facing financial turbulence.

This comes after National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani admitted before a parliamentary committee that the government may not allocate money in the next financial year due to a dip in national revenue collection.

After President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for his second and last term in 2017, he announced his Big Four agenda for the country which include, manufacturing, universal health coverage, food security and affordable housing.

Under the housing, the President outlined his government’s plan to construct at least 500,000 housing units across the country by 2022.

To construct 100,000 units, the government requires about Sh45 billion so as to attract investors to pump in more money into the programme.

But while appearing before the Transport, Public Works and Housing Committee of the National Assembly Thursday, Mr Yattani noted that his ministry is facing financial difficulties and that he cannot guarantee the availability of the funds required for the project.

“We may not provide anything in the next financial year,” Mr Yattani told the committee chaired by Pokot South MP David Pkosing.

Transport, Public Works and Housing Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, who also appeared before the committee, noted that the government now intends to bring onboard the Saccos.

According to Mr Macharia, 228 units of the 1,370 units being the first phase along Park road in the city’s Ngara estate, have been completed and handed over to the government.

The projected completion of the entire project is December this year.

In the current financial year, Sh5 billion has been set aside for the programme and will be fully disbursed after Mr Macharia complained that out the allocation, only Sh1 billion has been given out.

Mr Macharia told the committee that it was regrettable there will be no money to fund the President’s legacy project noting that if the requested amount was availed, the country would be having 130,000 units.

He noted that given the reality that the country may not have the money required, it may be prudent to explore the mortgage culture and rope in the low-income bracket.

“Currently there are about 25,000 mortgages in the country, which by any standards is quite low. This culture needs to change. The ministry is encouraging investors to come in and take risk by putting up houses for sale,” Mr Macharia said.

He noted that the government will provide the required land, infrastructure, water and power among other things to support the investors in this.

“With all this provided, the cost of putting up houses might go down by up to 40 percent. This is the strategy that we want to use,” he said.

Mr Yattani explained to the committee that the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company (KMRC) will also play a key role in boosting the success of affordable housing programme.

KMRC was incorporated in April 2018, to provide secure long-term funding to primary mortgage lenders (Banks and Saccos) in order to increase availability and affordability of housing loans to Kenyans.

Mr Macharia told the committee that the take-off of the project faced setbacks due to delays in the implementation of mandatory contribution and lack of support from the public as provided for in the Finance Act, 2018.

The law had made it mandatory that workers contribute 1.5 percent of their basic salaries with their respective employers contributing a similar figure to finance the project.

However, the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) obtained court orders to suspend the implementation of the mandatory contribution.

Before the matter could be determined in court, President Kenyatta while leading the country to mark Jamuhuri Day celebrations on December 12, last year, he decreed that changes be made to the Finance Act to make the contribution voluntary.

by Nation

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Dreamliner KQ ranked last among 10 carriers in the Middle East and Africa

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A strike and pilot sabotage are among factors that dragged Kenya Airways to the bottom of Middle East and African carriers’ ranking in the 2019 on-time performance (OTP) review.

The update done by Cirium, a London-based airlines advisory and consultancy firm, rates global airlines through their on-time arrivals, departures, average delay in minutes per flight and those that operate within scheduled time.

TIME ARRIVAL

The airline was ranked last among the 10 carriers in Middle East and Africa, a blow to the carrier that saw its losses double last year.

The rating saw Kenya’s national carrier come in 10th with a 72.25 per cent on time arrival of flights just below Addis Ababa-based Ethiopian Airlines at 74.22 per cent.

Qatar Airline was ranked top with 82.45 per cent on time arrival, followed by Dubai-headquartered Emirates Airlines at 81.02 per cent and troubled South African Airlines at 79.38 per cent, coming a close third in terms of punctuality.

KQ had an average of 47 minutes in delays for its over 54,061 flights it operated last year, a slight improvement of its 50 minutes in 2018.

“Arriving on time at a destination is becoming increasingly important to millions of both leisure and business passengers around the world every day. Therefore, our on-time performance review 2019 is designed to inspire airlines and airports to continually innovate to improve their performance,” the report said.

PILOT SHORTAGE

Kenya Airways Director of Operations Capt Paul Njoroge attributed the poor show in flight performance to aircraft withdrawals as a result of collision mid last year and industrial action by the airlines unionised employees.

“We were then negatively affected by the withdrawal of two aircraft due to the unfortunate incident in the hangar.

This was then coupled by the Kenya Airlines Workers Union (KAWU) strike and pilot shortage in the second and third quarter of last year, which saw the on time performance drop to as low as 67 per cent in August 2019,” Capt Njoroge said, adding that this was way below the 81 per cent performance they had achieved by April of last year.

In February last year, two of the airline’s Embraer 190 aircraft collided in the hangar while undergoing maintenance which saw them withdrawn from service.

Three months later, the airline’s unionisable employees under KAWU went on strike, protesting against the proposed merger between the national carrier Kenya Airways and the airports regulator. This saw more than 24 of its flights cancelled, while more suffered incessant delays.

By Nation

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