Ngengi Muigai renews fight for Sh3 billion farm

Businessman Ngengi Muigai has returned to the Appeals court, seeking to block his eviction from a 443-acre coffee estate that KCB sold more than two decades ago.

Mr Muigai, who is President Uhuru Kenyatta’s cousin, was back in court barely a month after he lost a protracted ownership contest with KCB at the Appeals court.

Judges Roselyn Nambuye, Milton Makhandia and Kathurima M’Inoti of the Court of Appeal found that all matters relating to the case had been conclusively litigated in different courts and that it was in the interest of justice that the matter is laid to rest.

Court papers, however, show that Mr Muigai and his Muiri Coffee Estate were back in court on January 10, where he filed an appeal seeking to block eviction from the farm on grounds that the High Court had issued an eviction order based on an application that the Court of Appeal had dismissed.

Mr Muigai now argues that Bidii Limited, the company that bought the farm from KCB, had obtained orders of vacant possession and eviction “vide a suit that has been dismissed and in which it sought no substantive orders by way of a counter-claim.”

KCB sold Mr Muigai’s Muiri Coffee Estate 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. Benjo and Muiri estimate the land to be currently valued at Sh3 billion.

Limited guarantor

Muiri had acted as a limited guarantor to the borrower, Benjo. The dispute dates back to 1992 when Benjo moved to court seeking to stop KCB from auctioning the land over failure to pay loan arrears.

KCB chose to dispose of the security when Benjo defaulted, kicking off a series of litigations.

In total, 14 suits were filed over the dispute, which all went in favour of KCB and Bidii.

Benjo and Muiri would in some instances file joint suits and in others separate ones all aimed at stopping the auctioning of the property – a battle that went on until 2007 when KCB succeeded in auctioning the land.

The Court of Appeal judges had in their ruling said that Muiri and its former owners should accept the consequences of the outcome of losing the court battle, which will ultimately result in handing over the property.

But Mr Muigai is now before the same court with a different application to block eviction.

According to the narrative in his affidavit, one of his many suits filed in 2008 was litigated until Court of Appeal and later even ended up at the Supreme Court and he lost.

In this particular suit, KCB and Bidii appealed after the High Court declined to dismiss the case based on objection that all issues had already been settled in a previous matter.

Dismisses the suit

The Court of Appeal in its ruling in April 2013 agreed and according to him ordered dismissal of the suit filed at the High Court.

In September 2013, Bidii filed an application in the same suit now based on that decision asking for eviction orders to take over the property.

Muiri objected claiming that the mother suit had been dismissed and could not sustain any application.

But Justice Jonathan Havelock in February 2014 rejected the objection and granted eviction orders sought by Bidii to which Muiri filed a notice to appeal.

Bidii made a further application to court on September 2016, seeking that the County Police Commander be held in contempt of court for failing to enforce the eviction order.

High Court Judge Grace Nzioka in September 2017 dismissed Muiri’s objection and ordered the contempt proceedings to go to full hearing.

 

By By GALGALLO FAYO

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