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Supreme Court of Kenya.


Nairobi businessman risks losing Sh5 billion 14 Riverside Drive property after Supreme Court decision

NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 12 – A city businessman risks losing a multi billion property on Nairobi’s 14 Riverside Drive if he fails to pay a creditor Sh5 billion.

The Supreme Court ruled last week that it can not interfere with the Appeal’s Court decision in which Cape Holdings Limited was ordered to pay the money to Synergy Industrial Credit Limited.

The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Martha Koome alongside judges Mohammed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala, Njoki Ndungu and Isaac Lenaola ruled that they have no jurisdiction over the matter.

“The Supreme Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain appeals that emanates from arbitration and which have been conclusively determined by the Court of Appeal. The appeal before us, therefore, lacks merit and is dismissed,” they ruled.

The legal battle has been going on for 10 years pitting Cape Holdings Ltd and Synergy Industrial Credit Ltd over the 14 Riverside Drive properties that has Dusit D2 Hotel, residential apartments and multiple office blocks.

Their decision marked the final hurdle in the 10-year fight between Cape Holdings Ltd and Synergy Industrial Credit Ltd over the 14 Riverside Drive properties that include the Dusit D2 Hotel, residential apartments and multiple high end office blocks.

The listed owners of Cape Holdings Ltd is Vinay Sanghrajka while Synergy Industrial Credit Ltd is owned by businessman Vipul Shah.

Their dispute dates back to 2011 when Synergy Industrial Credit Ltd entered into an agreement with Cape Holdings Ltd to purchase 14 blocks of apartments which the developer was constructing at 14 Riverside Drive.

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According to the suit, the company claimed it paid an upfront of Sh750 million for the office blocks when they were still under construction but accused Cape Holdings of refusing to transfer the units.

An arbitrator lawyer Ochieng Oduol in 2015 established that the developer breached terms of the contract by failing to transfer the property for and ordered Cape Holdings to refund the principal amount and interest amounting to Sh1.7 billion.

This included advance payments, loss of interest costs, opportunity cost and loss of exchange fluctuation for foreign exchange and good will.

But Cape Holdings immediately filed a case at the High Court seeking to overturn the decision reached by the arbitrator.

And in 2019, Synergy Industrial Credit moved to the Court of Appeal which overturned the High Court decision and reinstated the arbitration award.

The developer was ordered at the time to pay all the accrued interests and reinstated the arbitration award.

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