High Court Judge David Majanja has refused to recuse himself from the multi-billion-shilling Fourways Junction property dispute pitting the family of a prominent Kiambu family, Equity bank and property developers Suraya Property Group Ltd.
Judge Majanja dismissed the application by Nancy Wanja Gatabaki, the widow of Dr Samuel Gatabaki, who sought to have the case handled by another judge, citing bias.
“I find that the plaintiffs have not established that a fair minded and reasonable person … would conclude that there was a real possibility of bias,” Justice Majanja said.
Ms Gatabaki and Beatrice Gathoni- the administrators of the estate of Dr Gatabaki have challenged a deal between Suraya Ltd, Muga Developers Ltd and Equity Bank, which saw some parcels of land charged to the lender, to finance the construction of the estate.
The family says it is entitled to more units of the estate, even after a deal was hammered a decade ago in which they were paid millions of shillings and some houses transferred to them.
They have filed several cases, four of which have been handled by justice Majanja.
Ms Gatabaki argued that there is a real possibility of bias if the judge does not recuse himself from the case. She said she was apprehensive that they will not get a fair trial.
Equity opposed the argument stating that the cases referred to in support of the application were founded on different facts and circumstances.
The mother and daughter claimed that they are the registered and beneficial owners of two parcels measuring about 200 acres and about 6.53 acres respectively in Nairobi, off Kiambu Road.
They said in 2007, they entered a joint venture agreement with Peter Muraya, his wife Sue and their company Suraya Properties Ltd, for the development of Fourways Junction Estate.
Muga Developers was incorporated as the joint venture and according to Ms Gathoni, it was understood that they would contribute 50 per cent of the capital through the land while Suraya Property Group would inject capital of equal value for the construction of the housing scheme.
The case was settled by consent in 2011 and the complainants were paid millions on top housing units being transferred to them.
Ms Gatabaki was paid Sh725.6 million to resign as a director of Muga Developers.
Last year, they challenged the consent saying it was littered with fraud, deception and breach but Justice Majanja dismissed the case.
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