Companies

Absa now wants directors jailed in Itare Dam cars row

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Absa head office in Westlands, Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Absa bank now wants directors of a construction firm and an auctioneer jailed for six months over the failure to release 14 vehicles seized from collapsed Italian firm that was hired to construct the controversial Itare Dam in Nakuru.

The lender has been seeking to recover the vehicles and auction them over debt from CMC di Ravenna, the collapsed Italian company.

The High Court had in May directed Benisa Ltd together with Anfield Auctioneers and Haki Traders Investment Ltd to release the vehicles to Absa.

Absa says through Iseme, Kamau & Maema Advocates that the directors of the three companies have failed to release the vehicles in contempt of court orders.

“It is manifest that the alleged contemnors are all hell-bent on disobeying the court order of 9th May 2022 and are working in cahoots to intentionally defeat the orders of this court and deny the applicants access to its motor vehicles,” Juirus Kemboi, an official at Absa says in an affidavit filed in court.

Justice David Majanja had directed the parties to appear before him on July 1, for the hearing of the application.

The lender wants the court to summon the managing directors Benjamin Kubai (Benisa Ltd) Martin Mwaniki (Anfield Auctioneers) and Godfrey Mburu (Haki Traders) to appear before him and show cause why they should not be punished and jailed for six months for disobeying the court directive.

The bank also wants an order authorising Philips International Auctioneers to enter Haki Traders' premises and seize the 14 motor vehicles, with the assistance of the police.

Mr Kemboi says in the statement that Haki Traders has refused to release the vehicles saying they have not been paid fees amounting to Sh31.5 million by CMC di Ravenna.

The lender and Benisa Ltd were fighting over the vehicles but Absa got its way after proving that it financed the purchase of the vehicles at a cost of Sh585 million.

The bank auctioned 40 vehicles last year while the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) is holding 17 others, pending the conclusion of investigations over claims that they were acquired using public funds.

The Italian firm was contracted by Rift Valley Water Services Board to construct the Irate dam in Kuresoi-Molo, in Nakuru County for Sh36 billion.

But CMC di Ravenna halted the construction of the dam in November 2018 and left the site after going bankrupt.

Absa says it financed the purchase of 98 motor vehicles, through an agreement signed with CMC Di Ravenna on May 23, 2017.

Lawyer Diana Ogula said the vehicles were jointly owned by the bank and the Italian firm until full repayment.

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