Former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo is entangled in a Sh4.5 billion bribery court row with investors behind the Tatu City real estate project.
The investors have accused Mr Kabogo of illegally holding onto five title deeds as part of a ploy to blackmail them into ceding a five percent stake in a section of the multibillion-shilling project.
Stephen Jennings, the majority shareholder in the Tatu City projects, claims that Mr Kabogo has fabricated a series of events to try and trick the High Court into declaring that the politician is entitled to five percent of any proceeds that the developers will earn from a 128-acre section of the development.
Mr Jennings insists that the former Kiambu governor is not the registered owner of Gilulu Investments and Acres and Homes – the two firms Mr Kabogo claims to have used in the dealings with Tatu City.
He adds that if Mr Kabogo is the beneficial owner of the two firms, then he must be investigated for laundering funds illegally acquired from Kiambu County.
Mr Kabogo has filed two suits against Tatu City and some of its directors and sister companies, claiming to have been given title deeds to 128 acres worth at least Sh4.5 billion, after agreeing to buy another 100 acres from the real estate firm.
The suit has blown the lid on questionable transactions that Mr Kabogo entered into with the private developer while serving as Kiambu governor.
Mr Kabogo says he met Mr Jennings twice in 2015 to iron out details of an agreement.
The former Kiambu governor claims that during a meeting at the Lord Eroll hotel in Ruaka, Mr Jennings offered him a five percent stake in sections of Tatu City on account of the politician’s “good will, business acumen, reputation, political experience and financial wherewithal”.
Mr Kabogo claims that Mr Jennings was to sort out any finances involving his onboarding at Tatu City.
Aside from the shareholding deal, Mr Kabogo claims that he paid Sh348 million to Rendeavour Services, a Tatu City shareholder associated with Mr Jennings, as a 10 percent deposit for the 100 acres within the real estate project.
But Mr Jennings has hit back at the former governor, challenging him to provide any agreement or evidence of payment for the five percent stake in the Tatu City properties.
The transfer of the 100 acres was done on May 31, 2016, and the Sh3.7 billion balance was to be paid within 12 months.
Mr Jennings argues that Mr Kabogo entered into a sale agreement with Fundamental Property Limited, which he insists is a separate legal entity from Tatu City and other sister firms.
While Mr Kabogo says that completion of the purchase price was pegged on lifting of court orders from other cases that froze transfer of land from Tatu City and its sister companies, Mr Jennings argues that the agreement only had a clause to pay the balance within 12 months.
“If it is true, which is not admitted and denied, that it is indeed Mr Kabogo, the former governor of Kiambu County who provided the finance of the agreement to the tune of $34,485,290.40 (approximately Sh4 billion) and is the human face and force behind the agreement between Gilulu Investments and Fundamental Property, then the agreement is null and void ab initio as it is proceeds of crime and money laundering as it must have been acquired as a result of corrupt dealings during his tenure as governor of Kiambu County,” Mr Jennings said in court papers.
Mr Jennings says that Mr Kabogo did not complete the payments within 12 months, and cannot now cry foul. Mr Kabogo’s 10 percent deposit was refunded.
The politician is currently in custody of four title deeds to land parcels measuring 105 acres, and claims that Tatu City gave him the ownership documents as part of the deal that was to see Mr Kabogo get a five percent stake in the project.
On April 19, Tatu City and its sister company Oaklands Properties Kenya wrote to Mr Kabogo’s companies demanding that the title deeds be returned.
“There exists a partnership agreement between the plaintiff and the 1st-4th defendants. The said partnership commenced in the year 2015 when Mr Jennings made an offer to Mr Kabogo. The offer, which Mr Kabogo accepted, was that Mr Jennings would “buy in” Mr Kabogo to Tatu City Limited. The said partnership at will has been sustained over the years by terms which are partly oral and partly written,” Mr Kabogo said in court papers.
Mr Jennings argues that there is no evidence that Mr Kabogo would claim the five percent stake in Tatu City, and insists that the former governor is lying to the court on how he came to possess the title deeds.
“Mr Kabogo’s alleged ownership of the five parcels of land through what he calls ‘beneficial ownership’ is entirely without consideration. Mr Kabogo is holding Oaklands Properties’ titles as part of an extortion scheme,” Mr Jennings said. “Mr Kabogo’s entire claim is based on obvious and plain extortion and/or blackmail and is thus a criminal enterprise poorly clothed in a legal claim.”
Mr Kabogo claims that companies and individuals buying land in the affected sections have been asked to send money to him, a move that could create more legal troubles if buyers were caught up in the feud.
KQ resumes Mumbai flights after 4 months
- Kenya Airways will on Thursday resume flights to Mumbai, ending a four-month hiatus that was occasioned by increased cases of Covid-19 in the Asian state.
- The airline in a notice to its customers yesterday said it will resume its operations on the route on September 16, 2021 with the first flight departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7am to arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 pm.
Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ will on Thursday resume flights to Mumbai, ending a four-month hiatus that was occasioned by increased cases of Covid-19 in the Asian state.
The airline in a notice to its customers Monday said it will resume its operations on the route on September 16, 2021 with the first flight departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7am to arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 pm.
The airline will then resume full operations on the route on September 20, flying three times per week on the Indian route, which is one of the most lucrative destinations on its network.
Passengers on the route will part with Sh46,000 ($419) for one-way air ticket on economy class seats from Nairobi to Mumbai- prices that are relatively the same compared to what it was charging before the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Welcome back onboard! Fly from Nairobi to Mumbai starting Thursday 16th September with normal schedules resuming from Monday 20th September 2021,” said the airline in a notice to its customers yesterday.
KQ Suspended passenger flights to and from Mumbai on April 30 until further notice, following a government directive on travel between India and Kenya due to a Covid-19 crisis in that country.
The airline said on Friday that passengers who had booked tickets after May 1, the date of the last flight from Mumbai to Nairobi, will have to change their plans.
Affected passengers, KQ said, could also take vouchers for the value of their fare for future travel within 12 months.
India has seen soaring infection rates in the recent days, since the discovery of a new virus variant. Last month, India put on lockdown one of the states following a spike in cases of Covid-19.
Other countries that have banned flights to India include France, the UK Bangladesh, Oman and Hong Kong that have banned travel to and from India or asked their nationals coming from the Asian country to isolate themselves in government-approved hotels.
India has so far detected 33,264,175 corona virus cases with the number of deaths hitting 442,874 as at September 13.
A large number of patients from Kenya also travel to India every year for specialised medical treatment, especially cancer care, helping to drive medical tourism in the densely populated country that boasts affordable and easily accessible healthcare.
Lower import volumes push mitumba prices to new highs
- Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year.
- Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections.
- Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.
The average price of a tonne of second-hand clothing items imported into the country crossed the Sh100,000 mark for the first time last year on reduced volumes in the wake of safety protocols and guidelines to curb spread of coronavirus.
Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year.
Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections.
Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.
Last year’s drop was the first dip since 2011 when 76,533 tonnes were shipped in compared with 80,423 tonnes the previous year, the official data collated by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows.
The import bill for the merchandise amounted to Sh12.24 billion, a drop of 31.11 percent, or Sh5.53 billion, year-on-year.
TIn imposing the temporary ban on used clothes, Kebs had applied a standard which prohibits buying second-hand clothes from countries experiencing epidemics to ensure disease-causing microorganisms are not imported into Kenya.
Higher quality and relatively lower prices for mitumba has continued to drive demand for used clothes at expense of locally-made products amid higher margins enjoyed by traders largely operating in informal markets.
The lucrative second-hand clothing market has seen traders from China —a key source market for the merchandise —open shops in Gikomba, Kenya’s largest informal market for mitumba, in recent years to cash in rising demand.
Earnings from exports of articles of apparel and clothing accessories fell 5.32 percent to Sh32.92 billion last year compared with 2019, data indicates.
Court backs Atwoli union in horticulture membership feud
- A trade union that is led by the long-serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has survived an attempt to stop it from representing over 60,000 workers in the horticulture industry.
- Newly registered Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture, and Allied Workers Union (Kefhau) had filed as a case in the Employment and Labour seeking to bar the Atwoli-led Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) from representing workers in the industry.
A trade union that is led by the long-serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has survived an attempt to stop it from representing over 60,000 workers in the horticulture industry.
Newly registered Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture, and Allied Workers Union (Kefhau) had filed as a case in the Employment and Labour seeking to bar the Atwoli-led Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) from representing workers in the industry.
Mr Atwoli is the secretary-general of KPAWU. The rival union claimed KPAWU had encroached on its area of workers’ representation.
Justice James Rika, however, dismissed the claim and ruled that the dispute should have been taken through conciliation, and was therefore presented in court prematurely.
He also stated that Kefhau must go beyond its registration and recruit sufficient members from the employers, to be granted recognition and organisational rights.
“Registration on its own, does not afford the claimant (Kefhau) recognition. Until there is proof that Kefhau has satisfied Section 54 of the Labour Relations Act, the status quo must be maintained,” said the judge.
“Kefhau must recruit at least 50 percent plus one, of the unionisable employees in the floriculture and horticulture industry, members of the Agricultural Employers Association to be considered for recognition,” he stated.
He noted that there is a Recognition Agreement and CBA, binding Mr Atwoli’s union and Agricultural Employers Association, affecting 73 Flower Growers Group of employers, and over 60,000 employees.
“It is objectionable for Kefhau to be allowed organisational rights, and the legitimacy to receive trade union dues and agency fees, from over 60,000 employees, just on the strength of registration as a trade union,” said the judge.
Kefhau wanted the court to declare that it is the sole trade union, which is allowed by its constitution to carry out activities in the export floriculture and vegetable industry, and an order restraining Mr Atwoli’s from representing workers in that area.