The Court of Appeal has set the stage for resolving a 27-year-old loan dispute pitting two relatives of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Kenya Commercial Bank over the sale of a prime coffee estate.
KCB sold the coffee farm located in Kiambu for Sh760 million to recover a Sh70 million loan eight years ago.
Appeal judges Lady Justice Hannah Okwengu, Justice Sankale ole Kantai and Lady Justice Fatuma Sichale have directed all the parties involved in the dispute dating back to 1989 to file evidence in three weeks.
KCB has filed an appeal to challenge a finding by a superior court judge that it manufactured statements of accounts when it demanded to be paid Sh70 million by Benjoh Amalgamated Ltd which borrowed a loan in 1989 to finance a flower project in Nyandarua County.
Lady Justice Joyce Khaminwa (late) had in a ruling established that KCB did not have a proper statement of account for Benjoh whose managing director is Captain (rtd) Kung’u Muigai, a relative of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Muiri Coffee Estate Ltd, another company associated with Ngengi Muigai — a former assistant minister during President Daniel Moi’s era — guaranteed the loan for Benjoh to the tune of Sh11.5 million. When Benjoh allegedly failed to repay the loan KCB sold Muiri Coffee Estate. Muiri is also in the court contesting the sale of its coffee farm when it had already paid Sh6 million of the loan, leaving a balance of Sh5.5 million.
Brothers Kung’u and Ngengi are cousins of the president. When the appeal came up for hearing the lender sought an adjournment since its lawyer, Philip Nyanchoti, was bereaved.
Benjoh and Muiri, defended by senior counsel Paul Muite and John Wachakhana, asked the judges to direct all the parties to file written submissions within 30 days.
However, the appellate judges reduced the time of filing the evidence for each party to 21 days.
The lender is asking the court to quash a ruling by a former High Court judge ( the late Justice Joyce Khaminwa) who found that it “had manufactured the statement of accounts of Benjoh.”
The firm says it did not know how much money was disbursed to suppliers of the flower project and how much cash was advanced to it.