The reclusive tycoon reported to be reclaiming the land in Kayole where demolitions began yesterday, is himself a victim of such demolition, but for which the State had to pay him Sh700 million.
Mike Kamau Maina, the proprietor of Marble Arch Hotel in Nairobi, was last in news a year ago after winning huge compensation for his home that was demolished in Nairobi’s upmarket Spring Valley neighbourhood.
Yesterday, The Standard visited Marble Arch Hotel to get his comment but it proved difficult to go past the reception. He prefers to receive written communication passed to him through a messenger.
From the brief interaction with the front office staff, it was clear that Mr Maina preferred a quiet life.
“You will be lucky if he calls you back, but just try. That is what everyone looking for him does,” a hotel manager told The Standard.
It is also on the fourth floor of the same establishment that Mr Maina runs Muthithi Investment Company, the firm that began knocking down an entire residential estate in Kayole.
Five brand new bulldozers were brought in for the job before dawn yesterday. The demolition squad started by disconnecting the power from the main supply, plunging the estate into darkness.
The bulldozers then descended on properties erected on a 20-acre parcel of land in Kayole, with at least 100 heavily armed officers on guard.
The tycoon is claiming ownership after years of a protracted battle in court.
It was not immediately possible to determine the value of the property that would be brought down, but it is certain that it is in billions of shillings.
Maina is thought to lead a highly-guarded life at his farm just outside Kiambu town, where one would be lucky to enter, owing to tight security, according to one of the employees.
Exactly a year ago, the Environment and Land Court judge awarded him more than Sh711 million, broken down to Sh651 million as replacement of the property, Sh50 million general damages for distress and Sh10 million in aggravated damages for his property that was demolished in Nairobi’s Spring Valley.
The date was July 14, 2010, when bulldozers tore down his eight-bedroom mansion to make way for a bypass that runs through the posh neighbourhoods around Westlands.
Justification for bringing down the property was that Maina had acquired the land reserved for the road where he built the home in the 2007.
At the time of demolition, he had never lived in the house, it was just nearing completion.
He successfully defended the acquisition of the land, claiming before the court to have purchased it at Sh80 million.
Before the suit against the State, the businessman in his younger days had fallen out with mortgage lender Housing Finance in a matter that ended up before the court.
Maina had entered into an agreement worth Sh712 million with the lender to build homes to be acquired by the staff of the Kenya Revenue Authority in 1998.
The deal fell through and the lender reneged to remit the funds.
Justice Jessie Lesiit ruled against the businessman in the determination delivered in July 2009, ordering Maina to pay HF Sh3 million in costs.