National Bank to auction Mombasa tycoon property over debt


A National Bank of Kenya branch in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The National Bank of Kenya (NBK) #ticker:NBK has put up Mombasa tycoon Ali Punjani’s palatial Nyali home up for auction over a long-running debt which sources said is more than Sh1billion including interest and penalties.

The eight bedrooms all ensuite, double-storey mansion with staff quarters, a swimming pool and a changing room block sits on 0.4 acres in Bondeni neighbourhood of old Nyali registered to Shrike Investments Limited G/T Rising Star Commodities.

“The property is situated within Nyali Estate, Mombasa County. Access off Links Road is through Nyali Road to Moyne Drive, through to Kenyatta Avenue and Green-Wood Drive. The subject is situated along an unnamed Cul-de-sac Access Road and it’s a second-row beach plot approximately 300m off Green Wood Drive,” Garam auctioneers said in an advertisement.

The house attracted attention in 2019 when police spent 20 hours trying to breach the fortress in a raid on the tycoon’s home. Authorities have been seeking Mr Punjani over alleged links to the illegal sale and trafficking of narcotics.

He is a close associate of the Akasha brothers, Baktash and Ibrahim convicted in New York for running a drugs network in East Africa, Afghanistan, Europe, and the United States of America.

Loan delinquents

KCB Group #tickerKCB, which acquired NBK in 2019, has stepped up pursuit of loan delinquents to help clean up a legacy of bad debts that accumulated over the years.

NBK needs to recover some of the bad loans that had crippled the lender forcing the government to merge the bank with KCB in 2019.

Gross non-performing loans at NBK stood at Sh26.3 billion in September 2020 from Sh2.2 billion in 2012.

Mr Punjani dealings with NBK raised eyebrows in 2016 during a court case by the lender’s associate relationship manager Edwin Kipchumba who revealed that the billionaire had backroom channels that helped him receive millions from the bank.

Mr Kipchumba wanted to be reinstated after he alleged he was forced to resign following an audit by Deloitte & Touché that revealed there was a misrepresentation of the bank’s non-performing loans.

“Rising Star Commodities Limited was credited Sh580.6 million by NBK on December 31, 2015. It was debited the same amount, on the same date. The sum was shown as a new loan.