Contractor sues Citam church over Karen housing project
A building contractor has sued a church-associated real estate firm for Sh181 million it claims it is owed from a housing project for its members in Nairobi’s Karen suburbs.
Dinesh Construction wants the court to compel La Nyavu Gardens, associated with Christ is The Answer Ministries (Citam), to pay it the claim for infrastructure works done on the project dubbed Bogani Gardens.
La Nyavu Gardens is the business arm of La Nyavu Savings and Credit Co-operative Society, whose membership is drawn from Citam worshippers.
REFUSED TO PAY
The contractor holds that it completed the works La Nyavu hired it to do but that La Nyavu has refused to pay due sums even after written demands and threats to sue it.
La Nyavu has filed an application seeking to refer the dispute to arbitration, which it claims was one of the clauses in its contract with Dinesh intended to address any disputes arising from the project.
Dinesh says it was to receive Sh259 million for its services but has only been paid Sh78 million.
“La Nyavu Gardens Limited and Dinesh Construction entered into a contractual relationship in which Dinesh was tasked with execution of infrastructure works at Bogani Gardens. Despite executing works fully and as contracted, La Nyavu has refused to settle the contractual amounts. The plaintiff seeks judgment against La Nyavu for Sh181 million, interest at the rate of 18 per cent per annum and costs of this suit,” the contractor says.
Citam has in a separate case filed by prospective home owners denied owning La Nyavu Gardens despite several directors of the real estate firm being members of the Pentecostal church.
La Nyavu says Dinesh has not exhausted the alternative dispute resolution methods provided for in the contract, and wants the court to suspend any further proceedings in the suit until an arbitrator has presided over the matter.
“A dispute has arisen between Dinesh and La Nyavu with both parties alleging breach of contract against each other. There is a valid and binding arbitration agreement between the parties. Dinesh in further breach of the contract has filed this suit. La Nyavu verily believes that the court has no jurisdiction to hear or determine this suit as the dispute should have been referred to mediation,” holds Haron Nyakundi, a director at La Nyavu.
Mr Nyakundi holds that he last year met Dinesh Bhachu and Fredrick Opondo who were representing the contractor in a bid to resolve the matter amicably, but that no solution was forthcoming as at the last meeting towards the end of 2015.
The Bogani Gardens project is also the subject of other suits between church members and La Nyavu.
The church members claim La Nyavu has refused to release to them title deeds for the project which has been done on 114 acres of land in Karen .
La Nyavu Gardens invited prospective land owners in 2009 to invest in the faith-based gated-community housing.
The firm was to purchase the entire shareholding in Metcourt Hostels Ltd that was to translate to ownership of 114 acres of land in Karen.