Court allows trader to auction Kabogo property over Sh100 fine for land grabbing

Kiambu Governor William Kabogo. [Beverlyne Musili/Standard]

A court has allowed a businessman to auction any property linked to former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo to recover a Sh100 million fine.

Mr Kabogo was slapped with the fine for illegally invading and occupying a Sh3.5 billion plot in Nairobi for ten years using the firm of Caroget Investments Limited.

The 7.5-acre plot is situated along Church Road in Westlands.

Land and Environment Court Judge Elijah Obaga last week allowed businessman Nayan Patel to attach the ex-governor’s property.

Also to be attached are any properties linked to Kabogo’s wife Esther Njeri Gitau and his son Andrew Kamau Kabogo, who are co-directors of Caroget.

On October 31, 2017 Justice Obaga had ordered Kabogo to pay Patel for illegal possession and trespass after the court found that Patel was the legitimate owner of the land.

Kabogo and City Hall were further ordered to deliver vacant possession of the land to Patel. The court also issued a permanent injunction to the Registrar of Titles from accepting, acting upon or effecting any sale, lease, charge transfer or alienation, and/or dealing in any manner howsoever with the land.

Lawsuit cost

City Hall and Kabogo were also ordered to meet the cost of the suit estimated at Sh17 million for the plot that is situated 4.8 kilometres from the city centre.

This brought a 10-year tussle for the plot to an end.

But Patel, through lawyer Cohen Amanya, returned to court on March 5 last year and sued Caroget. He listed the City Council of Nairobi (now City County), the Commissioner of Lands, Attorney General and Registrar of Titles as respondents.

The businessman said he was unable to identify any propriety associated with Caroget thus prompting him to return to court to compel Kabogo and his co-directors to meet their obligations.

‘Your honour, we have tried to trace the assets, bank accounts or any documents relating to Caroget but all in vain. It is apparent that the directors of the company are trying to conceal their identity and properties of the company,” Mr Amanya told the court.

Court documents indicate that Caroget directors are Acres & Homes and Esther Njeri Gitau. William Kabogo Gitau, Patrick Gichure Kamau and Andrew Kamau Kabogo are listed as directors of Acres & Homes.

In a ruling last Friday, Justice Obaga censured Kabogo after he sought to dissociate himself from Caroget.

Being dishonest

“It has now turned out that William Kabogo Gitau was being dishonest and was out to cover Caroget from the eyes of equity. It has also turned that Kabogo is a director of Homes & Acres Ltd, which is one of the directors of Caroget that was found to have engaged in fraudulent activities in as far as registration of the suit property was concerned,” the judged stated.

He added: “It is therefore clear that where issues of fraud and dishonesty are raised, the court can pierce the corporate veil to establish who the directors are.”

Justice Obaga then allowed Patel’s application to personally execute the decree against Kabogo and his co-directors. This allows the businessman to apply to declare Kabogo bankrupt in the event he fails to locate any property to attach.

Yesterday, Kabogo said he had not been served with the decree despite been represented in court by a M/S Gichoya on behalf of his lawyer Nelson Havi when the ruling was read.

“I have not been served and if it is true there is such a directive as you say, I will contest it all the way,” Kabogo told The Standard when reached for comment.

On June 7 last year, the former governor had opposed the application to be summoned to court saying he was not a director of Caroget. 

This is despite having appeared earlier before Justice Obaga for cross-examination under oath as a Caroget director.