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KCB seeks to block businessman’s Sh500m claim for lost title deed

Dining etiquette

Kisumu businessman Eric Ounga and his wife Suzanna Owiyo leave the Kisumu Law Courts after the hearing of a case in which Mr Ounga is claiming Sh500 million from KCB losing his title deed. [Dalton Nyabundi, Standard]

The hearing of a case in which a Kisumu businessman has sued Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) for Sh500 million for losing his title deed began Thursday.

Eric Ounga, the husband of popular musician Suzanna Owiyo, went to court last year after KCB told him it could not trace the title deed he had deposited with the bank as security for a loan.

The bank had sought an out-of-court settlement with Mr Ounga, a real estate developer, over the title deed for property in Nairobi’s Kilimani estate.

Ounga first sought to recover the title deed from the bank in 2015, after he finished repaying a Sh15 million mortgage taken in 2008.

He is seeking compensation for lost business opportunities as a result of not having his title deed.

“Upon realising the gravity of the potential loss faced for failure to repay the loans, I decided to sell the three-bed room house in Kilimani for Sh31 million and use the amount to trade in real estate for a year, make profits to offset the loans, which added up to Sh80 million inclusive of the Sh15 million loan taken earlier,” he told a Kisumu court Thursday.

KCB Corporate Affairs Manager George Pande told Justice David Majanja that whereas the bank admitted ‘misplacing’ the title deed, it had no obligation to produce it to a third party without a written request from Ounga when he wanted another loan from Standard Chartered Bank.

Mr Pande told the court the businessman had not requested the discharge of the title deed after instructing the bank to hold on to it.

Impending sale

But Ounga, through lawyer Sam Onyango, told the court since KCB did not object to the impending sale of the property, it in essence, acknowledged the request to discharge the title deed.

Pande said the provision was that Ounga should have made the request in writing since he had not instructed them to deal with a third party - Standard Chartered Bank - which Ounga had instructed to collect the document from KCB.

The businessman told the court failure to secure the title saw him fail to seal a business deal that required him to deposit the document with Standard Chartered Bank.

Urgent order

In the suit, first placed before Justice Esther Maina at the High Court in Kisumu, Ounga had sought an urgent court order compelling KCB to pay him for the damages he incurred through lost business opportunities.

Justice Majanja Thursday directed the two parties to file their three-page judgement submissions within 21 days. He will deliver judgement on October 9.

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