Gatabaki back in court over Fourways row

Njehu Gatabaki
Former Githunguri Member of Parliament Njehu Gatabaki. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Former Githunguri MP Njehu Gatabaki has termed an application by Suraya Properties Group seeking to set aside a multimillion-shilling arbitral award he won against it as a ploy to deny him relief even after benefiting from his land.

Mr Gatabaki was awarded Sh351 million and 16 villas to be allocated to him from Suraya’s Fourways Junction estate by an arbitrator but Suraya has asked the High Court to set aside the award on grounds that it was not party to the arbitral proceedings.

At the heart of the dispute is a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between Mr Gatabaki and Suraya Properties Group in which he allowed the developer to use 15 acres of land he had purchased from his brother Samuel Gatabaki in exchange for cash compensation and 16 Villas to be assigned to him.

“The applicant and the third respondent herein are guilty of approbating and reprobating with a view to frustrate me and deny me of any reliefs; after they benefited out of my land, breached the Joint Venture Agreement,” says Mr Gatabaki in the court pleadings filed in April.

As per the JVA he was to contribute 15 acres of land to be used for development of 84 units of Villas at Fourways development.

Suraya was to construct for him 16 lilac Villas on three acres of land, give him a further Sh50 million cash payment and share with him the profit from the sale of 84 units, with Mr Gatabaki getting Sh208 million as profit among other benefits.

Suraya Properties Group, a real estate company, is owned by Sue and Peter Muraya.

The dispute ended up in court in which the former MP accused Suraya of breaching the contract.

The parties entered a consent in which they agreed to refer it for arbitration. The arbitrator made the award on November 25, 2016.

But Suraya has objected to the award claiming that it was not party to the consent at the High Court that referred the matter for arbitration and that it did not participate in the arbitration process.

Mr Gatabaki has disputed the assertion arguing that the firm was represented by the law firm of Cecil Miller at the High Court and later at the arbitration.

He says the firm of Cecil Miller later told the arbitrator that it had been given direction not to participate in the proceedings by Suraya.