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Tycoon’s sons in vicious fight for Nairobi Ambassadeur hotel

Seven sons of deceased businessman, Samuel Maina, have opened a vicious court battle for control of the multi-billion shilling real estate empire they inherited from their father, including Nairobi’s iconic Ambassadeur Hotel.

Four of the Maina brothers have accused their siblings of taking exclusive control of family-owned businesses and locking them out of proceeds realised from the various commercial ventures.

Francis Chege, Joseph Macharia, James Kihara and Dedan Muthaiga have sued their brothers, John Kaguma, Stanley Kariuki and Charles Kanyunga, seeking to stop them from collecting rent from the disputed properties until the suit is heard and determined.

Mr Chege, Mr Macharia, Mr Kihara and Mr Muthaiga claim in the suit papers that their brothers appointed Paragon Property Consultants to collect rent from the family-owned properties without consulting other siblings, who are also beneficiaries of their father’s business empire.

The four petitioners say the collection of rent and other income from the family’s properties is exclusively in the hands of Mr Kaguma, Mr Kanyunga and Mr Muthaiga, yet all brothers are shareholders and directors of the holding company that runs the family businesses.

SHAREHOLDERS

But Mr Kaguma, Mr Kariuki and Mr Kanyunga argue that their brothers are not listed among shareholders of Ambassadeur Investments Kenya and should therefore not be allowed to meddle with the firm’s affairs.

The duo reckons that Mr Chege, Mr Macharia, Mr Kihara and Mr Muthaiga are only shareholders of Ambassadeur Investments, hence have no say in income collection.

The family runs its businesses under a holding company, Ambassadeur Investments Kenya Limited, which has several businesses in Nairobi, Athi River and Murang’a.

Nairobi’s Ambassadeur Hotel in the Nairobi central business district, however, remains the flagship business, which has also let out space on its ground floor to several businesses.

The Maina family also owns several shops, flats and the Oil Libya petrol station in Nairobi’s Spring Valley.

FAMILY BUSINESSES

Also listed under the family’s holding company is a house and shops in Mlango Kubwa, a stall in Kibera Market, a bungalow in Buruburu Estate, Bilmas Hotel in Nairobi’s central business district, a building in Muranga’s Gikoe Shopping Centre and an undisclosed number of godowns in Athi River.

The High Court in May 2012 ordered that the nine businesses in the Maina family empire be managed by Lloyd Masika until the suit is heard and determined.

“It is hereby ordered that Lloyd Masika be and is hereby appointed to be the manager of the properties registered under the umbrella of Ambassadeur Investment Kenya Limited with effect from June 1, 2012,” said the court order.

Justice Grace Nzioka has directed the seven brothers to appear before her for a full hearing of the suit on April 10.

The order appointing Lloyd Masika as manager of Ambassadeur Investments is expected to lapse when Justice Nzioka delivers a final judgment on the suit.