The Yaya Centre
Biwott’s lawyer said: Seven years of litigation through the Kenyan courts ultimately ending in the Appeal Court, proved beyond doubt that: LZ Engineering, a company wholly owned by Nicholas Biwott, was the rightful owner of the Ya Ya Centre
– Biwotts Lawyer
KROLL ON BIWOTT – THE YAYA CENTRE
Kroll alleged that Nicholas Biwott, fraudulently acquired the Ya Ya Centre (a shopping centre and apartment complex in Nairobi).
DID KROLL GET IT RIGHT?
Biwott’s lawyer said: Seven years of litigation through the Kenyan courts ultimately ending in the Appeal Court, proved beyond doubt that:
LZ Engineering, a company wholly owned by Nicholas Biwott, was the rightful owner of the Ya Ya Centre. The property had been bought by LZ in October 1983 and transferred to Yaya Towers Limited in October 1989 by which time it was occupied by tenants.
The ownership of Ya Ya had been fraudulently transferred to Trade Bank by Alnoor Kassam (referred to as ‘Scource A’ in the Kroll Report and the principle ‘source’ of the report’s allegations against Nicholas Biwott).
THE SOURCE INVESTIGATES…
According to the Kenya Kroll Report, Biwott was the sole owner of the Yaya Centre.
The Source’s understanding from the press and the available judgments is that LZ Engineering Construction Ltd purchased the land that comprises the Yaya Towers Centre in 1983.
An article published on 22 March 2004 in the East African Standard reported that the lawyer Mirabeau da Gama Rose, produced documents showing transfer of land which is the Yaya Towers Centre, dated 27 October 1983, between Southland Housing Development and LZ. The land was subsequently transferred to Yaya Towers Ltd on October 31 1989. LZ owned the entire share capital of Yaya Towers.
The Source’s research suggests that in February 1992, Trade Bank fraudulently transferred the Yaya to itself. Trade Bank itself borrowed heavily from the Deposit Protection Fund to fund the construction of the Trade Bank building and unlawfully charged the assets of Yaya Towers Ltd to secure the loan.
As a result of Trade Bank’s inability to service the loan, in September 1993, the Deposit Protection Fund Board took steps to realise the Yaya security.
However, LZ and Yaya Towers Ltd successfully argued before the High Court that Trade Bank had no right to deal with the assets of Yaya Towers Ltd in this way because Yaya’s transfer to Trade Bank was fraudulent and any transactions made by Trade Bank’s directors in relation to the Yaya was unlawful.
In a ruling delivered by Hon Mr Justice Pall on 14 February 1994, the court agreed that Trade Bank unlawfully took possession and control of Yaya Towers Ltd and returned ownership of Yaya Towers to LZ (HCCC No 3792 of 1993). The Court of Appeal upheld this decision on 8 May 1997 (Civil Appeal No 175 of 1994).
Therefore it seems clear that as a shareholder in LZ, Biwott owned some, if not all of Yaya Towers and did not acquire it illegally. On the contrary, it was Kassam, Biwott’s accuser, who was found by the court to have acquired the Yaya illegally and committed offences in doing so.