The High Court has rejected a fresh attempt by retired Africa Inland Church (AIC) Bishop Silas Yego to save his 50 high-end apartments in Nairobi’s Kileleshwa neighbourhood from being auctioned over Sh153 million owed to Transnational Bank.
Justice David Majanja dismissed the application filed by the retired clergyman in January, saying there were no new facts to enable the court to hear the case afresh.
“Like the Court of Appeal held, the plaintiff is indebted to the bank and nothing now stands in the way of the bank exercising its statutory power of sale,” the judge said.
Bishop Yego’s Siro Investments wanted the court to stop the bank from auctioning the apartments for at least four months to enable him repay the loan.
He said after the Court of Appeal dismissed his application for injunction last year, he engaged the bank with a view to exploring various ways of liquidating or restructuring the debt.
He claimed he had found a buyer but the bank rejected the proposals and proceeded to advertise the property by public auction. The bank, he said, instructed Purple Royal Auctioneers to auction the property.
Bishop Yego said he made several efforts to liquidate the debt by disposing of his other properties and making proposals but the lender had been unreasonable, hence denying him the right to redeem the property.
Court documents show that the retired clergyman borrowed Sh140 million from Transnational Bank in 2014 to construct 50 apartment units on the property. The project, however, ran into trouble after third parties who had committed to buy the apartments bolted.
The bank decided to sell the property after failed to service the loan. But he challenged the auction, saying the bank had undervalued the property. He claimed that the outstanding balance was Sh86 million and not the Sh143 million quoted by the lender. He also complained that the bank failed to issue him the required notification of sale.
Justice Majanja dismissed his application for a permanent injunction restraining the bank from recovering the millions of shillings through selling the property by public auction.
“According to the correspondence between the parties, the plaintiff has been in default since 2019. He has not met promise to settle the debt despite several offers by the bank to accept settlement,” said Justice Majanja when dismissing the application to restrain the bank from auctioning the property.
The judge said Bishop Yego based his complaint on the fact that he had entered into a sale agreement with a third party who was willing to buy the property at Sh200 million.
His appeal suffered the same fate when an injunction he sought was dismissed by the Court of Appeal.
Bishop Yego retired from the church leadership in 2019 after serving for 45 years. He was close to the former President Daniel arap Moi, who was linked with Transnational Bank before its sale to Nigeria’s Access Bank last year.