Economy

Judge orders lawyer to refund Sh4.4m after client failed to transfer house

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Justice Lucy Mbugua. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The Environment and Land Court in Nairobi has ordered a lawyer to refund Sh4.4 million and pay a fine of Sh3 million for failure by his client to deliver a house in Lavington area more than a decade ago.
  • The lawyer averred during his submissions that he released the money for purposes of completing the villa after which his client was required to hand it over to the buyer.  

The Environment and Land Court in Nairobi has ordered a lawyer to refund Sh4.4 million and pay a fine of Sh3 million for failure by his client to deliver a house in Lavington area more than a decade ago.

Justice Lucy Mbugua found that Onesmus Githinji and his client were liable following a collapsed property sale in 2007.

The judge said Mr Ahmed Noorani should be refunded the Sh4.4 million, which he paid for the deposit to acquire the house in 2007 plus exemplary damages of Sh3 million after the developer failed to hand over the building. 

“As the matter stands now, the plaintiff never got the Villa and the sum of Sh4.4 million appears to have gone down the drain. I do find that the defendants were in breach of their contractual obligations,” the judge said.

The Lawyer in his defense pleaded that some of the details of the botched transaction were privileged communication but the judge dismissed. 

The judge also threw out the lawyer’s explanation of how the money was utilised. 

According to the lawyer, he received the deposit for onward transfer to the developer which he lawfully released upon receipt. 

“I find that the exemplary damages are appropriate in the circumstances noting that the deposit was made way back in year 2007, the judge said.

Mr Noorani told the court that he planned to purchase a Villa in Lavington area for Sh17 million. The houses were under construction and he paid Sh4.4 million, through the law firm, as the lawyer acted for the seller and the buyer.

The lawyer averred during his submissions that he released the money for purposes of completing the villa after which his client was required to hand it over to the buyer.  

The court said the money should be calculated at an interest of 14 percent from November 2007 until payment in full.