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Tuju back in court, wants EADB official grilled over Sh1.5b dispute

National

Former Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju has claimed that a senior East African Development Bank official gave contradicting statements on what transpired in the Sh1.5 billion dispute.

This is contained in Tuju’s new application filed yesterday before the commercial court to have the official summoned for questioning.

He claimed that in December last year, alongside his children they were summoned by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to record a statement.

DCI also summoned Justa Ruguru, Barnabas Ochieng and Isaac Nyongesa who allegedly appeared on behalf of the regional bank.

Tuju said upon request, DCI supplied him with the statements and after analysis, he discovered that Ochieng allegedly gave contradictory statements to police and court.

“Replying affidavit dated November 17, 2023, filed on behalf of the plaintiff herein (EADB) contains factual statements that are not only dissimilar to the ones made in his replying affidavit made before this honourable court, but are also totally at odds and contradictory to the averments made in the aforementioned replying affidavit,” he argued.

He further claimed Ochieng had recanted his statement in support of the bank’s case against him.

According to the former minister, the EADB’s official’s statement before the DCI corroborates his argument that the lender failed to honour its end of bargain as the deal was that the bank would finance the two projects and recoup its money after the acquisition of Tree Lane property.

In the application, Tuju said Ochieng admitted development of the real estate was a key component of the project to enable Dari Limited repay the loan.

He alleges that Ochieng also told the police in most cases, he would visit the bank’s lawyers and would find an affidavit already prepared for him to sign.

“The excerpt reproduced confirms to this honourable court that the replying affidavit filed in response to the applicant’s application dated November 8, 2023 is not accurate representation of events as per one David Odongo,” claimed Tuju.

At the heart of the case is whether a UK judgment in favour of EADB can be recognised and enforced in Kenya.

Tuju is fighting to block receiver managers from his Dari Coffee Garden and Restaurant (which took the loan) while also shaking off a bankruptcy suit brought against him and his three children.

He plans to convince the court that EADB reneged on an agreement they made to advance Dari Sh1.19 billion.

Instead, he claims the lender only advanced him Sh800 million for the 20-acre Tree Lane Property to expand his hospitality business at Dari in Karen, Nairobi.

Further, he claims the lender reneged on advancing an additional Sh294 million for the development of 30 three-bedroom residential units at Tree Lane and another 85-bedroom maisonette at a nearby seven-acre land on Mwitu Road.

Tuju says not only did the bank refuse to advance Dari the money, but it also frustrated his efforts to amicably bring the issue to a close.

But for EADB, the former Jubilee Secretary General was offered a loan and should honour his debt obligation. 

EADB is demanding Sh1.6 billion including the principal amount and accrued interest from Tuju and his three children Yma Tuju, Alma Tuju, and Mano Tuju, who are also directors at Dari. The four also personally guaranteed the loan.

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