Former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo has become the latest personality to be embroiled in the long-running Tatu City development tussle.
The shrewd businessman who enjoys deep political links is involved in a Sh4.5 billion bribery racket with investors behind the Tatu City real estate project.
Kabogo has been accused of illegally holding onto five title deeds as part of a ploy to blackmail them into giving up a 5% stake in a section of the multibillion-shilling project.
New Zealand-born entrepreneur Stephen Jennings, who is the majority shareholder in the Tatu City projects, claims that Kabogo, under the ordain of a few greedy persons, has fabricated a series of events in a desperate attempt to try and trick the High Court into believing and declaring that the politician is indeed entitled to 5% of any proceeds that the developers will earn from the 128-acre section of the development.
According to Jennings, Governor Kabogo is not the registered owner of the two firms he claims to have used in the dealings with Tatu City.
The said firms are Gilulu Investments and Acres and Homes.
If Kabogo is the beneficial owner of the two firms, the businessman argues, then he must be investigated for laundering funds illegally acquired from Kiambu County.
In lawsuits filed against Tatu City and some of its directors, Kabogo claims he was given title deeds to 128 acres (worth at least Sh4.5 billion), after agreeing to buy another 100 acres from the real estate firm.
The court documents have now laid bare a list of questionable transactions that Kabogo entered into with Mr Jennings whom he claims he met while serving as Kiambu governor.
In one such meeting, Kabogo claims that in 2015, they met at the Lord Eroll hotel in Ruaka, where Jennings offered him a 5% stake in sections of Tatu City due to the politician’s “goodwill, business acumen, reputation, political experience and financial wherewithal”.
Aside from the shareholding deal, Kabogo claims that he paid Sh348 million to Rendeavour Services, a Tatu City shareholder associated with Mr Jennings, as a 10% deposit for the 100 acres within the real estate project.
This, is, however, claimed to be false.
From documents submitted in court, Mr Jennings has hit back at Kabogo, challenging him to provide any agreement or evidence of payment for the alleged 5% stake in the Tatu City properties.
In the rebuttal, it is said that Kabogo entered into a sale agreement with Fundamental Property Limited, which is a separate legal entity from Tatu City and other sister firms.
On Kabogo’s claims that the completion of the purchase price was dependent on the lifting of court orders from other cases that froze the transfer of land from Tatu City and its sister companies, it is argued that the agreement only had a clause to pay the balance within 12 months.
As Mr Jennings argues in the case, if it is indeed Kabogo, the former governor of Kiambu County, who provided the finance of the agreement to the tune of $34,485,290.40 (approximately Sh4 billion) and is the human face and force behind the agreement between Gilulu Investments and Fundamental Property, then the agreement would be classified as “null and void ab initio”.
This is because the money would qualify as proceeds of crime and money laundering acquired as a result of Kabogo’s corrupt dealings during his tenure as governor of Kiambu County.
Interestingly, Kabogo is said to be in possession of five title deeds to land parcels measuring 105 acres.
He claims that Tatu City gave him the ownership documents as part of the deal that was to see him get a 5% stake in the project.
The said partnership (which according to Kabogo is partly oral and partly written) is said to have commenced in the year 2015 when Mr Jennings made an offer to Kabogo that he would “buy him in” to Tatu City Limited and he accepted.
But in documents seen by thenairobistar.com, on April 19, Tatu City and its sister company Oaklands Properties Kenya wrote to Kabogo’s companies demanding that the title deeds be returned.
They argued that Kabogo’s alleged ownership of the five parcels of land through what he calls ‘beneficial ownership’ was entirely without consideration, adding that Kabogo was holding Oaklands Properties’ titles as part of an extortion scheme.
“Mr Kabogo’s entire claim is based on obvious and plain extortion and/or blackmail and is thus a criminal enterprise poorly clothed in a legal claim.“
William Kabogo, Simon Gicharu and his never-ending tricks at Tatu City
Although Kabogo looks to be the face of this latest debacle in the ever-dramatic Tatu City rollercoaster, credible sources privy to thenairobistar.com have reliably informed us that the former Kiambu governor is acting under the ordain of a fraudulent group of disgruntled shareholders.
In the leaked high-confidence information, Mr Kabogo is said to have had his palms greased to drive the agenda of a splinter group in the investment led by one Simon Gicharu, the chairman and founder of Mt Kenya University.
Gicharu, who enjoys good relations with a number of politicians and moguls within the media industry has for a long time been one of the most notable faces in the Tatu City fiasco.
In 2018, Gicheru reportedly inspired a group of handpicked petitioners, who claimed to be shareholders in two companies that own 13,600 acres, part of which was allocated to Tatu City.
The group organized a demonstration at Kwa Maiko Trading Centre, saying they bought shares from the two companies, Tatu City Ltd and Kofinaf Company Ltd in 2007 for Sh200 each.
Their claims were, however, discredited after police intervened and the demonstrators later admitted being sponsored, saying they had no idea what the controversy was all about.
When questioned about their intentions, the group said that they had been given a banner and paid to file a petition against Tatu City.
Upon interrogation, they said they had never been near Tatu City or spoken to anyone at the development.
The group dispersed peacefully, having successfully carried out their work for Gicharu.
Unlike the petitioners’ claims, in 2007, the company Tatu City Limited did not exist, so it is unlikely the group bought anything.
At the time, it was alleged that Gicharu, thanks to his connections in the media industry, paid for the malicious claims to be published as part of a campaign to extort the owners of Tatu City.
After their attempts to extort Tatu City owners by paying editors and journalists to publish their false narrative in the media failed to take off, Gicharu and his group seem to have resulted in another desperate move in securing the services of Mr Kabogo as a proxy to run their hidden agenda.
Will their latest bid to swindle Tatu City investors succeed? Considering the facts laid above, it is highly unlikely.
But understanding the country’s rotten justice system, it would be no surprise if the real investors led by Stephen Jennings lost the valuable piece of development to the greedy crooks led by Gicharu.
For now, only time can tell.