Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga has been a man on a mission ever since he burst into the limelight while playing for local football giant Gor Mahia in 2015.
The 28-year-old sharp-shooting striker, who currently plays professional football at Al-Duhail Football Club in Qatar, has traversed many countries in Europe and Asia making millions of shillings from his gifted left foot and goal-poaching skills.
Back home, the bully striker has not only invested in his balls by registering a football mentorship foundation dubbed Michael Olunga Football Academy (MOFA), but also has his eyes set on property investments.
With the fame and big money that comes with playing professional football, Olunga and his girlfriend Grace Edith Akinyi decided to expand their territory by a commercial plot in Nairobi to establish a business.
Aware that his glorious playing career will one day come to an end, the current golden boy of Kenyan soccer and his sweetheart decided to pump Sh67 million into a real estate company that promised to sell them the commercial land in Nairobi.
What started as a noble gesture for the couple almost turned into another con game and mega land scam when the company refused to transfer the land to the couple after receiving the full payment.
The details emerged in a suit where Olunga and Akinyi sued Captain Real Estate Company for refusing to hand over the property and allegedly selling it to a third party after he paid the agreed purchase price of Sh67,292,500.
“The company refused to honour its end of the bargain to affect the transfer of the property to Grace Akinyi and myself. They have been consistently treating us to false promises, only to realise that they had advertised the property on social media sites and sold it to a third party,” said Olunga.
It is as though Olunga had foreseen what was about to befall him when he stated in one of his interviews with the Standard Newspaper in September 2020 that money is the root cause of all evil, which almost cost him were it not the swift action of moving to court to stop the company from defrauding him and his girlfriend.
Olunga had stated during the interview that he always tries his best to remain disciplined and grounded when dealing with his millions of shillings, but that the allure of getting a new property and the promise of massive return on investment made him fork out the Sh67 million.
“When you get money, you get new friends. Your circle starts to increase and everyone wants to be around you, but you need to know who your real friends are and you need to know the people who are genuinely in your corner. Money is the root of all evil and with money, a lot of temptations usually come,” he said then.
True to his words, his 2020 statement about knowing genuine people in his corner came to pass after entering the deal to purchase the land.
Olunga, who is fondly nicknamed as ‘Engineer’ having pursued a course in geospatial engineering, swore in his affidavit that he entered a contract alongside his girlfriend with Captain Real Estate Company in April 2022 for the purchase of the commercial plot in Nairobi identified as LR No3734/423. After signing the sale agreement, the Harambee Stars striker stated that he proceeded to make deposits to the company’s bank account at Nairobi Riverside Platinum Branch in varied installments until he completed the full agreed purchase price in September 2022.
The footballer said he became alarmed after making the final payments when the company refused to honour its end of the bargain of affecting the transfer to the couple and instead started making false promises.
Alarmed by the possibility of losing both the land and his Sh67 million, Olunga swore that the turn of events forced him to engage the services of a lawyer who acted fast by writing a demand letter to the company to either hand over the property or refund the cash.
“Despite the demand to reimburse back our money or transfer the property to us, the company consistently started treating us to promises and counter promises without any action,” swore Olunga.
He added that instead of handing over the property or returning the money, the company called their lawyer on October 30, 2022 for a meeting, where they informed him of their intention to sell the property to a third party.
He stated that although they had paid the full purchase price and had the sale contract signed, they were surprised when they saw the company advertising the same parcel of land to potential buyers in November 2022.
“Our advocate then wrote to the company asking for a refund but they did nothing. They were notoriously enjoying possession of our money and using the property at our expense,” he said.
Olunga stated that after the prolonged frustration and refusal by the company to transfer the property or refund the money, they decided to move to court in February in a bid to preserve the land so they don’t end up losing everything.
Their lawyer Elvis Majani told the court that Captain Real Estate Company, which is a registered real estate company, breached the contract they entered and should be stopped from selling the land to third parties or compelled to refund the money plus interest accrued for the period they had it.
“The company breached the contract by failing to complete the transfer of the property after accepting considerable money from Olunga with the knowledge that they were not intending to transfer the said property after being paid,” said Majani.
He also accused the company of offering the property for sale to third parties while still holding on to the Sh67 million they had received from Olunga and failing to indemnify the couple to the position they were prior to intentionally breaching the terms of the sale agreement.
Olunga and Akinyi’s swift move to the court saved them from losing both the money and the land because when the matter came up before Justice Alfred Mabeya at the Milimani High Court on March 1, the parties informed the judge that they had reached an agreement to settle the dispute out of court.
“Since the parties in the dispute have informed the court that they have reached an agreement and filed a consent to settle the dispute, the case will be marked as settled and withdrawn from court. Their consent dated February 27, 2023, settling the dispute will be adopted as an order of this court,” Justice Mabeya said.
Details of the agreement was however not in the court files with only confirmation from lawyers representing Olunga, his girlfriend and the company agreeing that they had reached a consent to settle the matter.
Having the dispute settled was a close shave and learning experience for the goal poacher who describes himself as a God-fearing, humble, down-to-earth and hard working person who rose from a humble background staying in Lucky Summer Estate to the top cities of Europe, Asia and the Middle East.