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Governor Waiguru faces eviction in Ksh44M Kitisuru rent row

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru is battling eviction from her upmarket Kitisuru home in Nairobi and an auction threat over a disputed $408, 000 (Sh44.5 million) rent demand.

Ms Waiguru has sought court protection from property developer Kihingo Village Ltd, which has asked the governor to pay the millions of shillings or vacate the Sh80 million house following a botched sale deal inked in September 2015.

The former Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary (CS) reckons that she paid Sh40 million in cash for the property and had an agreement with KCB Group to offer an additional Sh40 million as mortgage .

The mortgage agreement was not completed.

The developer of the home has denied receiving payment from Ms Waiguru, calling the governor a tenant and not the owner. Kihingo has demanded that the governor pay rent for the five years she has been residing in the home or risk asset seizure by Chardor Auctioneers.

“The applicant is apprehensive that unless the orders sought herein are granted, the consequences of the eviction will be dire as the suit property is her residential home where she resides with her family. The damage will be irreparable,” Waweru Gatonye, Ms Waiguru’s lawyer, told the court.

“Further, the orders will embolden the defendants (Kihingo Village Ltd) to demand for rent which as stated above is unwarranted and untenable in law.”

Ms Waiguru has sought permanent orders to stop Kihingo Village from demanding rent, arguing that she was the purchaser of the property and not a tenant.

Justice Elijah Obaga issued temporary orders against the eviction, but asked the parties to settle the rent dispute among themselves.

The governor reckons that the advice to settle the rent row could embolden Kihingo Village —which is associated with former Tetu MP Ndungu Gethenji — to evict her from the property.

The parties appeared before Justice Obaga last week, who directed them to come for hearing in February 2021.

The botched sale deal happened two months before Ms Waiguru’s resignation as Devolution CS, saying unsubstantiated allegations linking her to corruption in the ministry had taken a toll on her health.

Her exit followed the charging of two high-ranking officials at the Devolution ministry in court with trying to block another senior official from informing the police about a plot to steal Sh695 million.

Ms Waiguru argues that the action of Kihingo Village is meant to portray her as a person who does not pay rent and with no integrity and reputation.

“Noting her status as the Governor of Kirinyaga County, such an unlawful and unwarranted action of evicting her will no doubt cast aspersion as to her reputation,” Mr Gatonye said.

She first moved to court on February 20, saying the case was extremely urgent and should be heard on a priority basis.

This followed an eviction notice from Kihingo Village that asked her to vacate the house by February 29 or risk auction.

The company further sought rent arrears of Sh40.8 million, a demand the governor termed unlawful and unwarranted because she is not a tenant but the property owner.

Ms Waiguru said she purchased the property through an agreement dated September 25, 2015 for Sh80 million.

Kihingo Village, she said, allowed her to move in before completing the transaction and that she paid Sh40 million after signing the deal.

In the agreement, she said, the company allegedly allowed her to get a financier to pay the balance of the purchase price and agreed to release the documents to the bank immediately after receiving the funds from the lender, to act as security.

Court documents show that she approached KCB on January 22, 2016 for a loan of Sh40 million and charged the property to the bank.

Ms Waiguru has blamed the property developer for delaying the KCB mortgage deal.

“The delay in completion of the said agreement has been occasioned by the respondents who have failed to deliver the completion documents to enable the bank to register a charge against it before releasing the balance of the purchase price,” said Ms Waiguru in court documents.

“… I am not a tenant in the suit property but a purchaser who has so far paid half the purchase price in line with the provisions of the lease agreement dated 25th September 2015.”

Kihingo Village has been demanding the unsecured cash to complete the deal.

Through Gichuki King’ara & Co. Advocates, the company threatened to evict and auction her, saying she cannot stay in the house for free, yet she does not own it.

“Your client has unlawfully stayed for the last four years and 6 months in our clients premises without payment of rent and completing whatever other transactions that she has failed to disclose to us through documentation,” Gichuki King’ara & Co. Advocates said in a letter to Waiguru’s lawyers.

“Our client is not aware if any sale transaction with your client where it was agreed to grant her five years to complete. If you have a copy of the same, please forward to us.”

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