Economy

Sh2.5bn Runda home dispute against HF goes back to court

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Summary

  • Mr Firoz Nurali Hirji went back to the Supreme Court challenging its jurisdiction to hear the dispute.
  • This was after Ms Sharok Mohammed Ali, who acted as his agent in the case, recorded a consent last month with the lender, purportedly settling the dispute.
  • In the consent, which was adopted by the top court on September 25, the lender agreed to pay the couple Sh239 million plus costs and legal fees instead of the over Sh2.5 billion.

A Sh2.5 billion dispute over the sale of a family home in Nairobi’s Runda estate by Housing Finance took a fresh twist after one of the parties in the feud returned to the Supreme Court to challenge a settlement deal reached in court last month.

Mr Firoz Nurali Hirji went back to the Supreme Court challenging its jurisdiction to hear the dispute.

This was after Ms Sharok Mohammed Ali, who acted as his agent in the case, recorded a consent last month with the lender, purportedly settling the dispute.

In the consent, which was adopted by the top court on September 25, the lender agreed to pay the couple Sh239 million plus costs and legal fees instead of the over Sh2.5 billion which they were awarded by the Court of Appeal in November 22 last year.

Through an application by lawyer Muriuki Muriungi, Mr Hirji argues:“It was incumbent upon this Court to first determine whether it was clothed with the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the entire dispute herein as a preliminary matter, before making a decision as to adoption or otherwise of the consent order,” the application stated.

Further, Mr Hirji said although Ms Ali was his agent during the hearing of the case, because he had donated to her the power of attorney, he revoked it on December 16, 2019 and the agent lacked authority.

“The consent order as adopted by this court serves the purpose of settling the appeal of which the jurisdiction of this court to entertain it is challenged,” the lawyer submitted.

In the consent, the lender paid a first instalment of Sh10 million to Sharok in February with the mortgage financier set to pay a further Sh90 million within seven days of adoption of the consent. The balance was to be paid in monthly instalments of Sh5.8 million until payment in full.

But Mr Hirji argues that the deal was signed without his authority and wants the decision reversed.

The Court of Appeal upheld the decision of Justice Joyce Khaminwa, who ruled that the sale in 2000, was illegal. Justice Khaminwa had directed the bank to pay damages of Sh20 million, at an interest of 26 percent per annum, beginning the year 2000 until full payment.