MPs summon Cytonn CEO Edwin Dande

by Lawyer Wanz

The management of Cytonn Investments is set to face MPs this month over a Sh7.8 million-a-unit housing project following a petition to Parliament by a section of investors.

The petitioners have raised fears that despite paying millions of shillings in the Cytonn project, which is dubbed ‘the Ridge’ and sited along Kiambu Road, no work has been done as of yet. 

The Public Petitions Committee already met with the three petitioners last month together with Alego Usonga MP Samuel Atandi, who presented the petition on their behalf. Ms Josephine Awuor, Ms Caroline Atieno and Mr Omondi Abonyo, through Mr Atandi, on behalf of other investors, petitioned the National Assembly in November. 

They called on MPs to investigate the matter,fearing that their money risked disappearing.

The House committee, chaired by Kitui East MP Nimrod Mbai, listened to the petitioners and will now meet with the management of Cytonn to tell their side of the story before making a decision. 

“The committee has not yet completed the matter; it has only met the petitioners. It will now meet [with] Cytonn this month,” Mr Atandi told the Nation.

The petitioners put out their case before the lawmakers, telling the committee to get to the bottom of it to safeguard their investment. 

The committee, which has 60 days from the date the petition was committed before it by the speaker, is set to present its report when the House resumes its sittings on February 14.

After meeting with Cytonn management, the committee will also meet with other parties interested in the matter before retreating to write its report.

According to the petitioners, investors had paid in excess of Sh3.9 million, but the company kept telling them that they were finalizing the project.

In 2018, the petitioners told lawmakers that Cytonn Investments started experiencing internal financial problems as there had been no construction contrary to what it was saying that it was making progress.

The petitioners say investors made an initial instalment of 10 per cent of the sale value plus a booking fee of Sh50,000.

On raising the alarm over the slow progress, the petitioners told MPs that investors started asking for refunds but were told they would incur a mandatory 10 per cent loss on their deposits.

“In September 2019, when many investors began seeking refund, the company announced that it would put the money in its substituent platform the Cytonn High Yield Solution, for one year to earn interest at 18 per cent and then start refunding,” reads the petition.

The petitioners, however, say that in 2020, the company began blaming the Covid-19 crisis and promised to refund the investors in 2021, during which they kept sending statements to show interest was being earned.

“Later, an administrator was appointed and the company continued to experience financial difficulty, and, to-date, nothing has come to fruition with regard to investors’ money, nor has the Ridge project taken off,” they say.

“Notwithstanding this debacle, the company has ostensibly kept their posts alive on social media platforms on investment analysis to dupe the investors and unsuspecting Kenyans that it is liquid and in optimum operational capacity.”

The petitioners expressed fear that Cytonn has been trying in vain to sell off some of its properties and might thus dissolve with depositors’ money. 

They now want MPs to engage Cytonn and its partners to clarify how they intend to fulfil their agreement with those who invested in the Ridge project. 

They further want the lawmakers to hold the chief executive officer of Cytonn liable for the mismanagement and secure the timely refund of investors’ money.

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