Owner of Nyama Mama restaurant missing amid Sh520m loan fraud claim


Jay and Ninaa Shanghavi, Founders Good Earth Group. PHOTO | COURTESY

The proprietor of a popular Nyama Mama restaurant has gone missing amid accusations of fraudulently obtaining over half-a-billion shillings from a bank prompting a Nairobi court to issue a warrant for her arrest.

Ninaa Shanghavi was required to appear before senior principal magistrate Zainab Abdul on Wednesday but her lawyer said she had travelled outside the country.

The magistrate declined to suspend the warrant for her arrest for two weeks, saying she was aware that she was required to appear in court.

Ms Ninaa and her spouse Jayesh Shanghavi are accused of obtaining a Sh520 million loan without offering security.

The lender had applied to be allowed to put an advertisement in the newspaper, announcing that she was missing but the court directed her to present herself in court within two weeks, failure to which the bank would be free to publicise her missing.

The two, who are directors of Good Earth (Group) Ltd, are accused of inducing Victoria Commercial Bank to execute a charge over an apartment in Nairobi to obtain a loan of Sh520 million, with intent to defraud. Good Earth Ltd is the company behind Nyama Mama, Blue Door, Yao and Deli and Bakery.

The charges stated that they committed the offence on diverse dates between December 10, 2018, and November 2020. Mr Shanghavi was released on bail and the court issued a warrant for the arrest of his spouse.

Yesterday, the couple’s lawyer informed the court that she had left the country by the time Mr Shanghavi was picked by police officers. He pleaded to be allowed to present herself once she gets back to the country.

The prosecution and the bank, however, opposed the application saying she is aware of the charges but chose not to come to court.

The lender said the warrant of arrest should remain in force and the investigation officer should be summoned to explain efforts he has made to arrest her.

In a short ruling, the court rejected the application to lift the warrant but gave her two weeks to present herself in court “without embarrassing her”.

Court documents show that the duo, who are directors of Good Earth Group Limited, which comprises of various high-end restaurants and a bar in Nairobi County obtained the amount on the premises that "the collateral to be issued was being processed and would be registered accordingly".

But even after the loans were extended to the business, the security was never registered.

The case will be mentioned on December 21.

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