Village Market eviction row splits Koinange family – Business Daily
The Village Market Shopping Mall in Gigiri. FILE PHOTO | NMG
The Koinange family is split over a petition filed last month by one of the administrators of the estate seeking to evict the upmarket Village Market mall and Tribe Hotel over claims the land on which the property stands belongs to them.
Isabella Wanjiku, a daughter of the former provincial commissioner Charles Karuga Koinange, says although they have a dispute with Greenhills Investment, which owns the mall, the case was filed without consultation or knowledge of co-administrators.
The case was filed on November 30 by lawyer Ashford Mugwuku on instructions by Peter Mbiyu Koinange, one of the administrators of the estate. The other administrators are Ms Wanjiku and her nephew, Samuel Karuga.
“The matter was filed without consultation, concurrence or knowledge of the co-administrators and the beneficiaries of the estate,” Ms Wanjiku said, adding that she is representing 10 other beneficiaries of the estate. Her lawyer, Philip Murgor, said he would be moving to court to have the case struck out.
Mr Mbiyu Koinange has moved to court seeking to have the family declared the owners of the property and eviction of Greenhills Investment.
Also read: Court cases rock sharing of Mbiyu Koinange estate
He alleges the owners of the Village Market and Tribe Hotel must had acquired the title to the land fraudulently and should therefore be evicted and made to pay them damages for illegal occupation or compensation at the current market rates.
He also wants the Sh8.5 billion loan that Greenhills Investment tapped from KCB Group to develop Village Market to be declared invalid.
Ms Wanjiku said that the family was claiming a portion of the land and not the entire parcel where the two establishments stand.
She said the family surrendered the land years back to the government and were compensated before her father died.
She added that Greenhills Investment took a small section belonging to the family — 0.2642 hectares – and that although the family was planning to seek recovery of the land, they hadn’t agreed to give instructions to Mr Mugwuku.
Ms Wanjiku further said Mr Mbiyu gave instructions to the advocate to recover another land from a firm identified as Mitithiru Company Ltd, without the knowledge of other administrators.
“The 2nd plaintiff (Ms Wanjiku) and the beneficiaries of the estate of Charles Karuga Koinange wish to review the matter herein, determine how they wish to proceed and appoint an advocate of their choice,” she said in relation to the case filed against Mitithiru.
KCB, which has been sucked into the Village Market dispute, has appointed lawyer Kiragu Kimani, who sought time to file replies to the case.
The Land and Environment court also joined the Chief Land registrar and Attorney-General in the case, following an application by Greenhills Investment, arguing that the officials will assist the court to arrive at a just conclusion.
In the petition, Mr Mbiyu Koinange wants vacant possession of land and a share of profits the Village Market owners, Ehsami brothers— Abbas, the eldest, Mehraz an architect, and Hamed, the youngest —have enjoyed over the decades at the mall.
Also read: Court shields Two Rivers from Koinange family land row
“In the alternative, full compensation to the plaintiff at market value or current valuation of the suit property,” the family says in the petition.
Mr Koinange was the younger brother of the former powerful minister in the Jomo Kenyatta government, Mbiyu Koinange.
He died in 2004, leaving behind a multi-billion shilling estate consisting of land, shares in various companies, money in bank accounts and other investments estimated to be worth more than Sh15 billion.
The family had been tussling over the distribution of the property and came to a settlement two years ago after picking a mediator to shepherd sharing of the estate.
Mr Mugwuku said the property had been listed for distribution to the beneficiaries but the process could not be undertaken because of illegal transactions, including the charge of the property at KCB.
“In the interest of justice, it is necessary to grant the orders sought to forestall further illegal dealings or transactions on the subject property and to preserve the subject matter of this suit,” Mr Mugwuku said in court documents.
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