KCB Files Application Seeking To Be Enjoined In Ruto’s Weston Hotel Land Dispute

by Mahakamani News

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) has filed application seeking to participate in the ownership dispute of the controversial land on which Weston Hotel in Nairobi stands on the basis that it is the registered chargee.

The bank said it has beneficial interest in the property, in which the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) secured orders on June 21 blocking the valuation, sub-division, sale and transfer of the land.

“It is necessary to enjoin KCB in these proceedings to protect its interests and enable the court to fully and finally determine the issues arising,” the bank stated in court papers filed by Mohamed Muigai Advocates.

Bank Secretary Bonnie Okumu explained in a supporting affidavit that Weston Hotel received loan facilities of Sh350million and USD1.5million by a charge dated October 9, 2014 that was registered on October 27, 2014. The firm reportedly secured further Sh700million by a further charge dated July 8, 2015 and registered on July 27, 2015.

Okumu said the bank relied on confirmation by the Registrar of Lands that Weston Hotel was the duly registered owner of the property. “If the bank is not enjoined as an interested party, there is a real risk that KCB may be rendered a by-stander as orders which are adverse to its beneficial interests as granted to KCAA,” he said.” By the virtue of the registered charge and further charge, KCB extended banking facilities to Weston Hotel amounting to Kshs. 1,050,000,000.00 and USD 1,500,000.00″, added the bank.

Environment and Land Court Judge Bernard Eboso imposed sanctions against Weston Hotel Ltd, Priority Ltd and Monene Investments Ltd following an urgent application by the State agency.

The Judge stopped the implementation of the decision made by the NLC on January 25 allowing the owners of the hotel to pay compensation to the agency at the market value to enable it to purchase alternative land. The disputed public land had been acquired by the defunct Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) in the early 1990s for the construction of its headquarters.

The disputed public land had been acquired by the defunct Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) in the early 1990s for the construction of its headquarters.

Justice Eboso directed lawyer Stephen Biko Ligunya to serve the three firms with court papers to facilitate the hearing of the matter on July 4.

In court papers, KACC argued that Priority Ltd and Monene Investments sold the land to Weston Hotel Ltd in June 2007 at the deliberately undervalued price of Sh10milion. The two firms, the documents state, then embarked on rapid construction without obtaining mandatory development approvals from relevant State regulatory agencies.

“They procured registration as owners of the land through illegality, fraud and corruption and forcibly evicted the DCA and its employees. They forcibly removed the DCA’s costly air navigation equipment and spares and dumped them at sites in Industrial Area and Athi River, causing their degradation from harsh exposure to the elements,” the agency protested in its petition lodged by Rachier and Amollo Advocates.

The owners of Weston Hotel Ltd had deliberately failed to comply with KCAA’s orders to stop construction, despite clear indications that the development along Langata Road posed a threat to air navigation at the adjacent Wilson Airport, the agency said.

“On January 25, the NLC have its determination recognizing and emphasizing that KCAA’s entitlement to and ownership of the land remained unchallenged. The NLC’s decision extensively and justifiably impugned the illegality, irregular and fraud by the three companies, explicitly stating that Priority Ltd and Monene Investments irregularly procured registration of the land,” KACC pointed out.

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