Kenya Commercial Bank Group (KCB) is supporting legal battles that aim to block the repossession of the disputed land where DP William Ruto’s Weston Hotel is sitting on for fear of losing security to the Sh1.2 billion loan it advanced the hotel five years ago.
KCB on Thursday told Justice Bernard Eboso that Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) faulted in filing another suit to repossess the disputed land instead of challenging the 2019 decision where National Land Commission said that the hotel should keep the land and pay KCAA at the current market price.
KCAA is however pushing for the title deed of the land that was fraudulently issued in the 90s to be revoked so that Ruto’s hotel can be demolished.
But KCB wants Justice Eboso to dismiss KCAA and allow Weston that it offered Sh1.2 billion five years ago to remain on the disputed land.
“We now tender these submissions to support the 2nd respondent (Weston Hotel) application,” KCB said in a court affidavit.
The bank argued that the law has laid out procedures for an appeal in the Environment and Land Court which KCAA should exhaust and appeal against NLC in 14 days.
“The petitioner had the option of appealing the determination of NLC within the prescribed period if it was aggrieved. It did not. In bad faith and without regard to due process, it filed the instant petition in a guise that its constitutional rights had been violated. We humbly ask your lordship not to sanction such an abuse of court process.” KCB said.
But KCAA has maintained that the decision by NLC to have Weston compensate it for the land be reversed as Weston pretends to be an innocent buyer.
Weston also added that the case was filed with ulterior motives to discredit Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid because the commission found that the deed was legally acquired.
The disputed public land was purchased by the defunct Directorate of Civil Aviation in the early 1990s with intentions to build its headquarters.
But when Weston fraudulently acquired it, the hotel embarked on rushed construction without mandatory approvals from relevant agencies.
KCB which supports Weston to stay on the disputed land also argues that it did due diligence and established that the hotel was the registered proprietor of the land before it advanced over the Sh1.2 billion loan to the hotel.
The bank added that cancelling the title as pleaded by KCAA would prejudice it as it would end up losing monies, which the hotel is currently repaying.
KCB said the first loan of Sh350 million and Sh167.4 million was wired to the hotel in October 2014 and charge registered.
In July 2015, Weston went for another loan of Sh700 million and charged the property.
The lender feels that an order declaring the title illegal would prejudice it, since it will lose the only security it attached to the loan.
The hotel has challenged KCAA in court arguing that the suit is a conspiracy between the agency and political schemers to dent his 2022 bid to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“It is a cheap attempt on the part of the conspirators to malign and scandalise the Deputy President because it is believed he has certain interest and association with the property,” said Ahmednasir Abdullahi in his submissions.
Abdullahi who is the lead counsel for the hotel associated with the DP poked holes on KCAA’s intention to have the hotel demolished.
“The suit is being prosecuted to damage Ruto politically. It is precisely because of that political scheme that the petitioner (KCAA) had been forced to file this petition instead of filling an appeal from the decision of the 1st respondent (NLC).” The lawyer added.
Justice Eboso is set to rule whether the court has jurisdiction to determine the case on March 3 2021.