Nonagenarian woman seeks title release from bank

Family Bank logo at the bank's towers along Muindi Mbingu street. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

A 90-year-old woman has written to a bank seeking the release her title of prime property in Ruaka, Kiambu County.

Family Bank had sought to auction the property on June 8, 2018, claiming that she had Sh2 million outstanding amount.

Edith Njoki now claims that she cleared her loan on May 15, 2023, and wants the bank to return the title.

"Our client has this date, May 15, 2023, made payment to your client for a sum of Sh 2,001,129.70 in full settlement of the outstanding loan amount. In the circumstances, our client has discharged her obligation and the debt now stands fully settled," Njoki's lawyer Hans Oichoe wrote in a letter addressed to the bank's lawyers on May 15, 2023.

The bank's auctioneers-Watts Auctions had on May 11, 2023, indicated that it would dispose of the property on June 8, 2023 over an alleged failure by Njoki to pay the Sh 2,001,129.70.

"Take notice that all the immovable properties described below will be sold by public auction on Thursday June 8, 2023 at our View Park Towers offices unless the amount claimed by the creditor plus auctioneer's charges as set below are paid prior to the auction," the auction notice read in part.

The auctioneer valued the property at Sh25 million.

Njoki and Family bank were initially embroiled in a court battle after the lender listed the property for auction. However, they brokered a deal on December 17, 2021 that the bank would not dispose of the property unless she failed to pay the remaining loan.

The consent indicated that Njoki owed the bank Sh13 million as of December 16, 2021.

They agreed that she would first pay Sh2 million and then offset the remainder in Sh1 million monthly installments.

"Prior and as a condition to the payment by the plaintiff scheduled for October 15, 2022, the defendant shall make absolute disclosure of all deductible recovery costs incurred in addition to furnishing the plaintiff and or plaintiff's advocates herein with the updated statement of account

All the proceedings related to this matter in any court shall be stayed pending absolute performance of the obligations under consent," the agreement dated December 17, 2021, read in part.

In the case, Njoki through her daughter Ann Njambi stated that she had paid an excess of Sh290,116.

She alleged that the bank had demanded Sh4 million but had not justified how it had arrived at the amount.

"The first defendant plaintiff has made payment of all sums of payment that was outstanding and owed to the first defendant and even made excess payment in the sum of Sh290,116. The plaintiff made a payment of Sh13,513,000," court papers filed before the commercial court in Nairobi read in part.

The case was triggered by an auction notice published on a local daily on November 14, 2022. She asserted that the amount owed to the lender had been fully cleared.

The bank on the other hand asserted that she had not honoured her side of the bargain. It urged the court to dismiss the case adding that there was no solid case as the case had already been settled through consent.

According to the lender, the agreement was that it had the power to sell off the property if Njoki did not honor her end of the bargain.

After hearing rival submissions, the magistrate's court on May 5, 2023, closed the file. The ruling was handed by Milimani Commercial court magistrate Rawlings Liluma.