Chinese investor defends purchase of Sh2b land near State House
A Chinese investor has defended at the High Court ownership of a Sh2 billion parcel of land located near State House.
Catham Properties Limited is embroiled in an ownership tussle over the two and a half acre land with with former Sarova Group of Hotels managing director Mohinder Singh Vohra who died in an accident on Sunday.
Two other companies, Samvo Limited and Delta Haulage Limited, are also claiming ownership of the land.
Mr Yu Donghui told Justice Elijah Ombaga that the property was sold to Catham Properties Limited by two vendors Mr Christopher Mugoye Wamae and Mr Alexander Kung’u Maina.
They bought it for Sh200 million though its worth is estimated to be Sh2 billion.
Mr Donghui, who was re-examined by lawyer Dr Gibson Kamau Kuria, said the two vendors passed on to Catham Limited title documents which were later cancelled by the Chief Lands Registrar, Ministry of Lands.
Mr Donghui said he hails from Sachwan province of China.
He said the chairman of the investors group had sent representatives to look for investment opportunities in Kenya to invest. The representatives met Li Wen Jie and Mr Guo Dong who told them about the parcel of land around State House.
The Ministry of Lands and the National Lands Commission have since disowned the transaction between Catham Limited and the two vendors, saying it was a fraudulent transaction.
When Mr Donghui was asked by lawyers Stephen Mwenesi ( for Samvo) and Donald Owang (for Delta) whether he had a valid title for the property he answered; “ I do not have”.
NO VALID CLAIM
The two lawyers, plus two others from NLC and Ministry of Lands, told the court Catham Limited has no valid claim over the land.
Catham Limited claims it wanted to put up a ultra modern multi-billion business centre on the disputed parcel of land.
Former Lands Minister and now Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu witnessed the ground breaking ceremony for construction of the multi-billion business centre by Catham Limited, but the construction was stopped by the High Court pending determination of the ownership.
Mr Mwenesi and Mr Owang told the judge that the two vendors had no valid title to pass to Catham Limited.
Mr Donghui said the title deed handed over to Catham Limited by two the vendors Mr Christopher Mugoye Wamae and Mr Alexander Kung’u Maina was cancelled by the Chief lands Registrar in September 22, 2014 when its authenticity was challenged.
LEGALITY OF TITLE
Samvo Limited had also questioned the legality of Catham Limited’s title. Samvo maintains it’s the valid owner and its properties built on the land were demolished by agents of the Chinese Company.
Mr Donghui said Catham Limited is seeking damages for loss of business.
Those named as respondents in the case are Samvo Limited , NLC , Chief Land Registrar, Mr Wamae and Mr Maina and Catham Limited.
The Attorney General has said the purchase of the land was fraudulently done and the government cannot indemnify Catham Limited from the taxpayers money.