Ex-MP Gatabaki in legal battle for share of 16 city villas
The ownership of a multi-billion shillings property in Nairobi’s suburb has taken a new twist after one of the parties trashed an arbitration award and went back to court.
Suraya Properties Group now wants an arbitration award in favour of former Githunguri MP Njehu Gatabaki quashed and the matter handled by the High Court on grounds that the company was not party to the mediation process.
Gatabaki who was to pocket Sh351 million and take ownership of 16 villas at the property situated in Fourways Junction, about 500 metres from Nairobi’s posh Runda Estate. The former MP has put up a legal fight to have the award accepted as a judgment of the court and enforced.
High Court Judge Olga Sewe is set to hear the arbitration tribunal award’s enforcement application filed by Gatabaki’s lawyer Ombati Omwanza and the one filed by the company’s advocate Fred Ngatia on April 25.
The former MP’s ordeal started when he was invited by his brother Dr Samuel Gatabaki to the launch of a multi-billion-shilling housing construction deal in 2008 that has now left him fighting in court to save his share of the deal. The event took place at the National Museum of Kenya in December 2008.
He was shocked to learn at the function that his 20 acres of land formed part of Mr Peter Muraya’s development plan but he later entered into a joint venture agreement with the developer.
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The deal was to see Muraya Developers Limited purchase his 20 acres of land at a cost of Sh5 million per acre.
A total of 84 units were to be constructed on 15 acres of land and profits from the sale shared between him and Suraya Properties Group.
The former MP who was to make Sh75 million from the deal opted to keep 16 villas within the property.
He also told the arbitrator, Mr Kyalo Mbobu that Suraya Properties was to construct for him a house on two acres of land by December 2010.
Years later, his brother informed him that Muraya sold the land at Sh10 million per acre and not Sh5 million, a development that angered the legislator, who later confronted Muraya before he was given back one acre.
In the joint venture agreement that Gatabaki claims Muraya Developers did not honour, Suraya Properties was to make arrangement for financing and construction of the 84 units at Fourways Junction, construct 16 Lilac Villas for Gatabaki and construct a five bedroomed Ruby House Villa on three acres of land.
It was to make a payment of Sh50 million in cash to the ex-MP over the construction period and share the profits from the sale of the 84 units on a 50 by 50 basis.
In the deal, Suraya Properties was prohibited from charging or in any way encumbering the 20 acre parcel of land through Muraya Properties, an agreement it is alleged not to have honored.
With years having passed as the legal battle continued within the corridors of justice, and without the likelihood of having the matter finally determined, the parties chose to pursue alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and the matter was referred to arbitration.