Companies

Kasarani church group to buy Sh2.8bn Uchumi land

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President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto at a Church service at Jesus Winner Ministry, Roysambu. PHOTO | PSCU |NMG

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Summary

  • Struggling retailer has entered into agreement with Jewel Complex Limited to sell the land at Sh2.8 billion.
  • Jewel Complex Limited, is majority owned by Edward Mwai Kiongo, a leader at Jesus Winners Ministry church.
  • Jesus Winners Ministry is a popular church among the political elite.

Five top officials of a church in Roysambu, Jesus Winners Ministry, are set to be the new owners of Uchumi’s multibillion-shilling Kasarani land.

The private limited company at the centre of the Sh2.8 billion transaction, Jewel Complex Limited, is majority owned by Edward Mwai Kiongo, also a leader at the church.

Jewel Complex Limited was registered on May 23 last year.

Shareholders of the firm include Edward Mwai Kiongo who holds 36.36 percent stake, Paul Gichohi Mutune with 9.09 per cent ownership while Agnes Wanjiku Kiongo, Raphael Mwiti Thiaru and James Kiongo Mwai all hold 18.18 per cent shares each.

Jesus Winners Ministry is a popular church among the political elite.

It hosted President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto for prayers during their last church service, two days before the August 8 election.

The church also hosted President Kenyatta on June 30 2013, about two months after he assumed power.

Sh330m deposit

Court filings show that the struggling retailer has entered into an agreement with Jewel Complex Limited to sell the land at Sh2.8 billion.

A Sh330 million deposit has already been paid on the underway transaction.

Details of the retail chain’s land deal are revealed in documents that UBA Bank, one of the creditors, has filed in court seeking a share of the sale proceeds to clear an outstanding loan.

“Kasarani Mall Limited has entered into an agreement for the sale and purchase of the said land reference number 25544, Nairobi dated September 17, 2018 for the sum of Sh2,800,000,000 with Jewel Complex Limited,” Maureen Gacheru, UBA Bank’s legal officer, says in court documents.

Challenging approval

Kasarani Mall Limited is a subsidiary of Uchumi Supermarkets through which the retail chain owns the land.

Uchumi, which owes suppliers over Sh3.6 billion, has been banking on the sale of the land to turn around its fortunes but the money has been slow in coming because of challenging approval processes.

Even after the sale of the land, Uchumi will need to secure additional funding to help it out of its current financial distress.