NAIROBI, KENYA; A firm associated with Mombasa based billionaire Tahir Sheikh Said( TSS) has moved to court in a bid to block NIC bank from auctioning a piece of land under its name in a Sh 1.4 billion debt row.
TSS Spinning and Weaving Limited sued the lender claiming mischief on how the land was advertised for auction on the local dailies.
Through lawyer Stephen Biko, the company claims that the loan was handed to TSS Grains Millers Limited and thus its properties should not be sold.
Lawyer Biko in the court papers argue that the milling company was also never served with a sale notice.
“The bank wrongly and irregularly by themselves or their agents advertised the charged property for sale by auction at a time it had not issued a forty day notice," the lawyer claimed.
“The advertisement in itself is anchored on mischief, bad faith and sabotage and an inexplicable intent to vanquish the plaintiff finances and operations."
TSS built his empire along the years and had become a dominant figure in Mombasa.
His empire spans various sectors here and abroad, among them hides and skins, transport (lorries and buses), real estate, food processing (flour mills, soda) and coffee and tea export. His signature property is the 14-floor TSS Towers in Mombasa County.
But upon his death, the estate ended up at the mercy of the auction hammer after revelations that lenders who include Kenya Commercial Bank ( KCB), Bank of Africa (BOA) and NIC were claiming a stake over non-performing loans.
The three banks which are among the lenders put up more than 6,700 acres of TSS leasehold land and property on the Kenyan coast for sale.
Mr Said, is said to have defaulted on loans amounting to more than Sh3.5 billion that various entities in his vast business empire had borrowed from local banks but were unable to pay by early 2016.
The auctioneer had put up for sale a 6,178-acre property fronting the Indian Ocean in Lamu County, and which is currently used for salt production by TSS Salt Manufacturers Limited.
Some 466 acres in Kilifi, also owned by TSS Salt Manufacturers, are also on sale, targeting investors with an interest in salt production.
In the Court documents, TSS spinning and Weaving Limited director Tauhida Tahir Said, who is also TSS's son says that he is willing to negotiate with the lender on how to settle the debt.
“The applicants are and have always been willing to come to a negotiated consent settlement except for the above mentioned ambush by the defendant which is unreasonable and unfair," Tauhida says in his supporting affidavit.