Blow to Nachu as court stops sale of Sh2.8b disputed land
A real estate Sacco has been dealt a major blow after the High Court stopped the subdivision and sale of a Sh2.8 billion disputed land in Ruiru, Kiambu county.
The Environment and Land Court sitting in Thika issued the orders last week stopping National Co-operative Housing Union (Nachu) from dealing with the 400 acres belonging to New Pillion Estates until case filed in April is heard and determined.
In the directive dated July 6, 2021, Justice Lucy Gacheru said the orders will be in force until the cases challenging the sale of the land are determined.
“That status quo herein be and is hereby preserved restraining respondents from selling, advertising, marketing and or interfering whatsoever with the land parcel No. 11295 Ruiru or the suit property until the case is heard and determined,” she said.
The new development now slams brakes on Nachu which had commenced an aggressive marketing campaign for the project dubbed Riverline Ridge.
Following the new directives tens of investors, who had bought land from Nachu will have to seek other ways of recovering their money.
“I have already paid Sh7 million for an acre; I don’t know how I will recover the money. When we invested here, we were not told there was a dispute,” lamented Peter Njoroge.
The Sacco was offering commercial and residential plots with an acre going for Sh17.6 million and Sh15.2 million per acre respectively.
The land had further been divided into eighths, quarter and half an acre although the Sacco had not received regulatory approvals from the Kiambu county government.
Flawed sale agreement
Mary Njoki and Mary Wanjiru Gicheru, who are the listed administrators of New Pillion Ltd, that is registered owner of the land filed separate cases seeking to stop the transactions.
Nachu has admitted in court papers that it does not have the requisite documents to claim ownership of the property but had entered into a deal with directors of New Pillion to acquire the land.
The sacco which has not paid even a single coin in the Sh2.8 billion deal signed in March argues that it had opened escrow account at the Cooperative Bank for purposes of completing the transaction.
However, Wanjiru and Njoki both denied knowledge of a board meeting that resolved to transfer the more than 400 acres of land to Nachu. Wanjiru is a daughter of Peter Gicheru, who was among the six shareholders of the firm, while Njoki is widow of Stephen Thuku Mungara.
The two insist that there was no board meeting to approve the sale of the property while the sale agreement does not meet the legal requirements.
Through Ojienda & Company Advocates, Wanjiru terms the sale agreement as flawed and instead wants the court to direct that the land is sub-divided and given to individual shareholders.
“There was no board resolution to sell the suit property while the agreement was done by M/S Thairu & Co Advocates do not meet the LSK conditions of sale and this is sham,” the affidavit dated April 22, 2021 reads in part.
They are accusing former police commissioner Bernard Njiinu of irregularly transferring the land to Nachu. “I am also seeking for an order that the suit property be sub-divided and the plaintiffs are apportioned their share of the estate,” Wanjiru states through lawyer Seth Ojienda.
The late Stephen Thuku Mungara who alongside Njiinu, the late Peter Gicheru, late James Kamau Thiongo and John Kiereini Kireka are listed as shareholders of New Pillion that owns Land Parcel L.R No. 11295 (original No. 119/2, 4586 and 48930) situated in Ruiru.
Nachu, which has 900 listed housing societies drawn from across the country in its membership list, has however, defended the transaction saying it was done in good faith.
Chief executive has in its response filed in court acknowledged the encumbrances but denied any wrong doing or fraud saying they resolved to open an escrow account to deposit the money while waiting for the hindrances to be cleared.
AT A GLANCE
Njoki accuses Njinu of fraudulently transferring the land without the consent of other directors of New Pillion Estates Limited.
• In the agreement, Nachu was to pay 30 percent upon carrying a successful search at the registrar of companies, receiving audited copies of accounts for 2020 and actual returns and carrying out a search at the land registry.
• Ten per cent was to be paid on or before 7th of May, 30 percent by 30th of June on the balance of 30 percent by 31st of July 2021.