Bank names Karen land ‘owner’

Barclays Bank has waded into the controversial 134-acre land in Karen saying their dealings on the Sh8 billion asset was with businessman Horatius Da Gama Rose.

The bank makes it clear it does not want to be part of the proceedings but its senior legal counsel Waweru Mathenge swore that the only documents in their possession show the property is with Mr Da Gama Rose.

“The process of transferring the property and payment of legal fees was completed in January 1983 and the file closed. The property appears against the entry recorded in the security journal with the customer name indicated as Da Gama Rose (Investment) Limited,” swore Mr Mathenge.

The bank was brought into the case as an interested party after an application by businessman Horatius Da Gama Rose who argued that the bank was the executors of the Will of the late Arnold Bradley who originally owned the land and later transferred it to Da Gama Rose’s company Muchanga Investment Ltd.

Mr Rose claimed that in December 1982, Barclays Bank transferred the property to Muchanga Investment at Sh1.2 million in accordance with the Will of the late Arnold Bradley.

Through Iseme, Kamau and Maema Advocates, the bank confirmed that it was appointed a trustee by Mr Bradley who was their customer until his death.

“Mr Bradley died in October 1973 and his last Will dated August 15 1969 granted administration of his estates to Barclays Bank International Limited as the executor,” swore Mr Mathenge. He also says that Mr Bradley’s properties were distributed among his children and the transactions with Mr Da Gama’s company.

LETTERS EXCHANGED

“Several letters exchanged in October 1988, December 1988, January 1989, March 1989, and April 1989 all show that there were transactions in relation to the property with Da Gama Rose (Investment) Limited,” swore Mr Mathenge.

The lawyer’s affidavit contradicts that of the Ministry of Lands which said that the property belongs to Telesource Limited and not Muchanga Investment Limited as claimed by Mr Da Gama.

Deputy Chief Lands Registrar Geoffrey Birundi swore an affidavit stating that the land was originally owned by a Mr John Mugo Kamau who legally sold it to Telesource Ltd in 2005.

Telesource Ltd, through its director Jos Konzolo, had also defended its acquisition of the property saying it followed due process.
“Before purchase of the property, the company conducted due diligence and verified that the documents were authentic and legally recognised,” said Mr Konzolo.

The dispute was complicated further by the entrance of Ms Carmelina Mburu who claimed that the land belonged to her late husband, former Nairobi Provincial Commissioner John Mburu, and that at no time did her husband transfer it to Muchanga Investment Limited.

The case will be heard on February 9 next year.

This article was published by the DAILY NATION on December 11, 2014