Billionaire and Equity Bank Chief Executive James Mwangi is currently embroiled in a court battle with a private company over a three-acre land in Muthaiga, Nairobi County that both claim as their own.
The private firm, Mount Pleasant Ltd, has accused the prominent businessman of trespass and using the police as his puppets to gain access and bully them off the parcel of land. The firm claims that on June 15, 2020, Mwangi went to the piece of land with police officers, kicked out the guards and installed his own.
Through documents filed before the Nairobi’s Environment and Lands Court, Dr. Mwangi and Mount Pleasant Director Anverali Amershi are both laying claim to the property registered under Land Reference No 214/20/2.
Mount Pleasant Director says he legally bought the land from former finance minister Arthur Magugu and his wife Margaret Wairimu at Sh130 million on July 21, 2006.
According to the papers, after buying the land in 1982, the Magugus used the property to secure a Sh10.5 million loan from the National Bank of Kenya back in 1987 for a company named MDC Holdings Ltd. They defaulted, leading to a suit as NBK sought to recover the debt and interest which had accrued for 10 years.
“The suit was wholly compromised by way of consent recorded in court by Justice Aaron Ringera on October 16, 2002, ordering the properties be sold by way of a private treaty on such terms to be negotiated and agreed by the parties.”
The private firm and the Magugus striked a deal that he would see the firm pay Sh5 million for the execution of the sale agreement and an additional Sh8 million rates to the defunct Nairobi City Council.
The firm would then pay the bank Sh75 million to offset the loan and pay the Magugus Sh42 million, however, The former minister and NBK are claimed to have renegotiated the amount to be paid to Sh90 million.
There has been several attempts to grab the land according to the firm, in 2013, Mount Pleasant guards were arrested after one John Birech filed an encroachment complaint that the company had encroached on LR No 214/20/2/1 and LR No 214/20/2/2. Birech was subsequently charged with forgery but the court acquitted him on July 5, 2019, after finding that the prosecution had failed to prove its case against him.
The businessman says that he was informed that Mwangi and another respondent named Jane Wangui Mundia had also laid claim to the land. The two had a certificate showing they were the registered owners. He claims that after investigations, Mount Pleasant established that the two allegedly bought the land at Sh306 million in 2013.
Karmali claims the land register was tampered with to erase all evidence of any successive owners of the contested land.
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