Nairobi building leased to Judiciary set for auction in debt row
Thursday, May 2, 2019 11:44
By BRIAN NGUGIBy SAM KIPLAGAT
A controversial building leased out to the Judiciary for use by Court of Appeal judges in Nairobi has been put up for auction over an unspecified debt allegedly owed by its owners.
Leakey’s Auctioneers said the commercial building known as Elgon Place will go under the hammer on May 14, 12 days from today.
“Duly instructed by our principals the chargees, Elgon Place will be sold by public auction on Tuesday May 14, 2019 at our offices situated at Leakey’s Storage, Lunga Lunga Road, Industrial Area Nairobi starting at 11:00am,” the auctioneer said in a notice.
“All interested purchasers are required to view the property and verify the details. Interested bidders are required to pay a refundable deposit of Sh5,000,000.”
Efforts by the Business Daily to get details on the planned auction were unsuccessful with sources at the auction company only linking the sale to an alleged debt owed by the property’s owners, Sealink Holdings Limited.
The glass-walled building in Nairobi’s Upper Hill has remained in the public eye since 2013 after Court of Appeal judges declined to occupy it, arguing that the office block was emitting radioactive material, which could be harmful to their health.
The Judiciary had partitioned the seven-storey building to house 16 judges’ chambers, offices and six court rooms.
By his memo dated September 11, 2013, the then President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Paul Kihara (now Attorney-General), told all appellate judges to move to Elgon Place not later than September 17, 2013.
However, the judges declined to move in. Besides the health claims, the building was also mired in controversy about its lease terms.
Documents tabled before Parliament show that the Judiciary paid more than Sh70 million for the building that the judges never occupied.
The documents show that the tender committee approved the award to Knight Frank (K) Ltd, agents of Sealink Holdings Ltd, the owners of the building, for the lease of 34,400 square feet at a monthly charge of Sh4,204,638, translating to an annual rent of Sh50,455,667.
According to the duly signed lease agreements between the Judiciary and Sealink Holdings, the Judiciary eventually leased 47,890 square feet at a monthly charge of Sh5,845,633, translating to Sh70,147,605 annually.
The Judicial Tender Committee also awarded direct procurement of fit-outs at Elgon Place at a cost of Sh188.1 million.
Court of Appeal judges remain housed at the Supreme Court buildings although the Judiciary promised to move them to a new building which sources said would be built within Nairobi’s Milimani area.
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