A businessman has won a protracted battle against the National Social Security Fund over ownership of five apartments and piece of land worth millions of shillings in Nairobi's upmarket Kitisuru estate.
Environment and Land Court Judge Samson Okong’o ordered NSSF to transfer the properties to Stephen Njoroge, ruling that it was wrong to withhold the assets even after he paid over Sh80 million to acquire them.
“I am unable to see any justification why NSSF refused to transfer the properties even after receiving the agreed purchase price in full. The complainant having fulfilled his part of the bargain was entitled to the properties, there was no valid reason to deny him possession,” ruled Okong’o.
Justice Okong’o also ordered NSSF to provide Njoroge with a true statement of accounts of the apartments he bought and to refund him any money that might have been overpaid in relation to the purchase price.
Njoroge in his suit against the national pensioner claimed he entered an agreement to purchase five apartments from NSSF located at Kitisuru in June 2002 and the plot in which he was to pay in monthly instalments for 15 years.
He paid Sh56 million for the five block of apartments and Sh25 million for the plot at the time he completed payments in April 2016.
He, however, claimed instead of transferring the properties, NSSF served him with a notice that they had rescinded the sale agreement for non-completion of payments.
Justice Okong’o ruled that it was wrong for NSSF to deny the businessman his rightful ownership when the evidence showed he actually overpaid the agreed purchase price for each of the apartments and the plot.
“I am satisfied from the evidence on record that the complainant had settled the purchase price for the properties in full. NSSF claim that he owed them some money is untrue since they have admitted that some apartments were overpaid,” ruled the judge.
He added that NSSF is not entitled to keep any amount paid by the businessman over and above what was payable to acquire the houses and that they must render the true account of monthly instalments deposited by the buyer and refund him all overpayments.
He added that since the relation of NSSF and Njoroge was of a tenant-purchase agreement, the national insurer had a duty to fulfil its end of the bargain.
“The complainant performed his part of the agreements with the defendant but it is NSSF which failed to honour its part. In the circumstances, NSSF breached the various tenant purchase agreements that it entered into with the businessman,” ruled Okong’o.
The judge however declined to award the businessman compensation for being denied the right to own properties he paid for and instead directed NSSF to execute the transfer documents within 30 days.
According to the judge, he was not persuaded that NSSF’s conduct amounted to being oppressive, high-handed, outrageous, insolent or vindictive to warrant an award of compensation.
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