Wamalwa’s Sh90m deal in posh Kitisuru house turns ugly
A former nominated senator wants a court to compel Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa to deposit Sh50 million in court in a Sh90 million house purchase deal that has taken a new turn.
Ms Catherine Nabwala Mukite, who co-owned the property in Nairobi’s Kitisuru estate with her estranged husband — former Kimilili MP Suleiman Murunga — says the minister has not finalised the deal almost four years down the line.
In October 2015, Mr Wamalwa signed a nine-page document promising to pay Sh90 million for the house by Christmas of that year.
He occupies the house but has paid 70 per cent of the amount and is reluctant to settle the balance, Ms Mukite says.
What began as a straightforward sale agreement between Mr Wamalwa, then the CS for Water and Irrigation, and the house owners Murunga (then the Kimilili MP) and his wife (then a senator) is now the subject of an emotive case.
When the agreement was signed, Mr Wamalwa was just three months old in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Cabinet.
The minister committed to pay the full amount in 60 days, according to the application Ms Mukite made to court.
She urges the court to order Mr Wamalwa to meet certain conditions before taking part in an arbitration the CS had requested.
“May this honourable court be pleased to direct that the defendant furnishes the requisite security pending arbitration as an interim measure of protection,” Ms Mukite says.
NO LONGER TOGETHER
The case has become complicated by the fact that Mr Murunga and his wife, who sold the property to Mr Wamalwa, are no longer together.
That has prompted the former senator to accuse the minister of secretly striking deals with her estranged husband.
Court files indicate that Mr Murunga and Ms Mukite were to divide the money paid by Mr Wamalwa equally between them, but Ms Mukite claims her estranged husband received more.
Ms Mukite’s lawyer indicated in the February 17 application that she wants Mr Wamalwa to deposit security before negotiations as she doubts he would pay up the amount to be agreed on.
“Ms Mukite is apprehensive that Mr Wamalwa may not honour the terms of the arbitral award,” her lawyer said.
According to the sale agreement that is part of the court proceedings, Mr Wamalwa was to pay Sh18 million as deposit. The documents also show that he paid that amount and that Ms Mukite took half as Mr Murunga pocketed the remaining Sh9 million.
The minister also paid Sh27.1 million to Trade Bank, which was to free a title deed for the property that had been retained as security for a loan.
After the two initial payments, Ms Mukite says, CS began flip-flopping on the remaining amount.
On top of the Sh9 million deposit she received, the former senator says Mr Wamalwa has paid her Sh6 million “and I expect more”.
“In contravention of the terms and conditions of the sale agreement, Mr Wamalwa failed to pay Ms Mukite and Mr Murunga the balance for the purchase price and she has only received Sh15,090,000,” Ms Mukite’s lawyer said.
“This is way below the balance my client was expecting.”
A breakdown of Mr Wamalwa’s payments that is part of the proceedings shows that he has been remitting amounts from as low as Sh90,000 to as high as Sh4 million separately to the two sellers.
It indicates that the minister had paid Sh64.8 million by August 2018 — Some Sh23.6 million to Mr Murunga and Sh15 million to Ms Mukite.
The outstanding balance is Sh27.1 million.
LAWYER NOT TRANSPARENT
Ms Mukite says the law firm she and Mr Murunga were to use to receive the money has not been transparent, prompting her to hire other advocates.
“Advice proffered by my advocates is that I am entitled to 50 per cent of the sale proceeds since Mr Murunga and I jointly owned the property,” Ms Mukite says in her application.
She adds that the Cabinet Secretary has been using her broken marriage as an excuse not to settle the remaining debt.
“Mr Wamalwa has put out the pretext that the balance cannot be paid because there are differences between Mr Murunga and I, which I believe is an excuse to buy time,” she states.
“The Cabinet Secretary should immediately deposit the balance of the purchase price in a joint account for our respective advocates.”
Mr Wamalwa’s request for arbitration came following a case Ms Mukite filed in 2018 demanding that he be made to give a full account of the money he had paid towards meeting the sale price, failing which the court should nullify the deal and revert the house to the original owners.
There were no indications that Mr Wamalwa’s lawyers had filed a reply by the time of going to press.