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Renaissance Tatu City shareholders vow to fight new case

An artist’s impression of Tatu City. The real estate project is running behind schedule because of shareholder wrangles. PHOTO | FILE
An artist’s impression of Tatu City. The real estate project is running behind schedule because of shareholder wrangles. PHOTO | FILE 

Four Tatu City shareholders linked to the Renaissance Group have vowed to win a legal battle against businessman Vimal Shah and former Central Bank of Kenya governor Nahashon Nyagah over control of the Sh240 billion real estate project.

The four, who claim to be the project’s majority shareholders, said in a press statement issued on Thursday that they are confident of winning the latest challenge to their leadership, comparing it to a series of lawsuits that initially stalled commencement of the mixed residential and commercial real estate project.

Stephen Jennings, Frances Holliday, Hans Horn and Christopher Barron are named as respondents in a suit filed by Mr Shah and Mr Nyagah last Friday.

The two Kenyans claim that they have been illegally kicked out of the project’s management team.

“We will thwart this latest attempt to impede a project that promises hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in Kenya and tens of thousands of jobs,” the Renaissance Group said in a statement on Thursday.

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Mr Nyagah was replaced as chairman of the Tatu City board by Pius Ngugi, while Mr Shah was replaced as a director by Anthony Njoroge.

They have, alongside Tatu City and Kofinaf Limited, sued Renaissance Group, Mr Ngugi and Mr Njoroge. Kofinaf is a coffee firm that owns the land on which the project is being built.

Mr Shah and Mr Nyagah have accused the Renaissance Group of frustrating the project and failing to account for funds raised towards completion of the project.

The legal battle filed by Mr Shah and Mr Nyaga follows a 2010 leadership wrangle which delayed the project’s kick-off until 2013.

Two founding shareholders of the Tatu City project; Stephen Mwarigu and Rosemary Wanja, filed a winding up petition accusing other shareholders of locking them out of the company’s affairs. Their case was referred to the London Court of Arbitration.

Mr Shah and Mr Nyaga claim in the suit that their ouster is intended to give leeway to the Renaissance Group to amass funds they have acquired over the years for financing the project.

“The actions of the Renaissance Group are intended to give them exclusive control over the affairs of Tatu City and Kofinaf in order that they may continue pilfering the capital and income of the plaintiffs whilst asset-stripping them,” the ousted directors said.

The group has said it will defend the claims in court, as it seeks to ensure the project is completed within its deadlines. Renaissance, however, denies any wrongdoing.

“We refute all claims brought against us. We have faith in the Kenyan judicial system,” they said. ‘‘Tatu City is now being built very rapidly, and we are extremely excited about seeing the project through to completion.”

UPDATED on February 16 to remove inaccurate reference to Jennings, Holliday, Horn and Barron as Russians.

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