Two Court of Appeal judges have recused themselves from a case filed by a relative of President Uhuru Kenyatta challenging the acquisition of a multi-million coffee estate by Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) over a Sh700 million loan.
Lady Justice Martha Koome and Mr Justice Patrick Kiage disqualified themselves from presiding over the appeal filed by Benjoh Amalgamated and Muiri Coffee Estate associated with a former assistant minister and President Kenyatta's cousin Ngengi Muigai.
The two judges of the second highest court in the land said “we had handled this matter at the High Court before our elevation.”
Senior Counsel Paul Muite, who is appearing for Muiri and Benjoh, sought time to familiarise himself with facts of the case.
In the appeal, the two companies are seeking to overturn a High Court decision made 22 years ago allowing KCB to attach Muiri estate that had guaranteed Benjoh Almagamated to secure a loan to finance a flower project in Nyahururu.
Benjoh, through Captain (rtd) Kung’u Muigai, alleges KCB failed to advance the loan leading to the collapse of the flower project.
Benjoh says that it does not know how KCB came up with a figure that the loan advanced accrued interest to the tune of Sh700 million.
KCB sold the coffee estate to Bidii Kenya but Benjoh and Muiri contested the sale of the 434-acre farm under coffee.
The move deepened a 24-year court battle pitting Benjoh Amalgamated and Muiri Coffee Estate against KCB over the sale of the farm, whose value is estimated to be over Sh700 million.
Mr Kung’u says Benjoh borrowed only Sh11.5 million in 1988 and the coffee estate was used as security but after defaulting to repay the loan, KCB moved to auction the estate to recover the outstanding amount.
The estate was sold to Bidii Kenya Ltd at Sh70 million after a public auction conducted by Watts Enterprises.