Magugu's widow visits prime property after ruling

Former finance minister Arthur Magugu's widow Margaret Wairimu Magugu when she visited her plot where Simmers restaurant used to be. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Former Finance Minister Arthur Magugu’s widow Margaret Wairimu on Wednesday, June 19 led her family to inspect a plot where the once-popular Simmers Restaurant in Nairobi’s CBD stood.

This is after Justice Oguttu Mboya in his June 13 ruling reaffirmed that she is the rightful owner of the prime parcel of land.

“That in terms of possession, occupation and use. It is hereby confirmed that it is the first and second defendants who have been in possession and shall thus remain in such occupation and possession,” said Justice Mboya.

The ruling is from a case filed by former Kimilili MP Suleiman Murunga who is also claiming ownership.

The former legislator moved to court seeking to stop paying rent for the piece of land where the Simmers Entertainment joint stood.

The joint was demolished on March 2, 2018, as the case was in court.

Mrs Magugu claims she has shares in Nilestar Holdings which owns the plot through her company Green Valley Limited.

Nilestar Holdings ownership is also subject to a battle between Magugu’s family and that of Madatah Hasham Ebraham.

“I am happy to be here to see how the work is progressing,” said Mrs Magugu during her visit.

Lawyer Stephen Njoroge said that after the ruling by Justice Mboya, there was an attempt to take over the property by unknown people.

“There was an attempt to grab the land last week on Friday but we want to thank the authorities who moved in and quelled the violence,” said Njoroge.

The judge directed the case to be heard on June 24 and June 26, 2024.

Murunga has filed a different case before Justice Jacqueline Mogeni with the same parties over the piece of land.

Justice Mogeni blocked any transfer, subdivision or use of the parcel, pending the hearing of the petition.

She will give further directions on July 9, 2024.

In his case, Murunga says he is the beneficial owner of the land and that he was forcibly evicted from the plot on March 2, 2018.

According to the former MP, Simmers had over 67 employees and it enjoyed prominence as one of the major outlets of alcoholic products within Nairobi.

He says that he leased the land from Nilestar Holdings and Green Valley Limited in 1997.

He claims that Nilestar’s 99-year lease expired on December 31, 2009, and they applied for a renewal but it was not granted.

He claimed to have made an application in 2011 and was allotted the property.

“Upon compliance with the said terms I contend that I ceased being a tenant in the suit premises and became a legal and/or beneficial owner,” he says in an affidavit.

He says that Nilestar Holdings was aware of the change of ownership and he stopped paying rent.

In 2013, he got orders stopping the attachment of his property from Nilestar, who claimed Sh1.62 million in rent from him.

He claims that after the ruling he got a letter from the National Land Commission (NLC) purporting to withdraw the allotment letter issued to him.

The letter was then used to apply for the lifting of an injunction on Muranga’s eviction and eventual demolition of Simmers.

It later emerged in court that the signature claimed to have been appended by former NLC chairperson Professor Muhammad Swazuri was forged.

In an affidavit, he denied authoring the letter.