October 5, 2021 is a date that could turn out as the worst day for Mary Mwangi, the director of Express Connections, the company that owns Double M buses.
On this date, at the fall of the hammer, the company could lose 4.37 acres of land, two office blocks, a go-down used as a garage, a cafeteria building, an ablution block, a generator house and a sentry, and two containers.
Ms Mwangi used the property as collateral to obtain a loan for a parcel of land in Mavoko where she built a hotel targeting Jomo Kenyatta International Airport users.
However, the contractor who built the 80-room, four-storey building, is said to have done a shoddy job, with the structure developing cracks almost immediately.
An arbitrator, Allen Gichuhi, found that the contractor, Easy Properties Limited, breached an agreement signed to govern selling the property and building the hotel on it. They were ordered to refund Ms Mwangi’s company Ksh216.2 million plus interest.
“The building is not fit for occupation or purchase and the agreement for sale dated October 10, 2012 be and is hereby rescinded for breach of contract,”he said in his verdict of October 22, 2019.
The case has been ongoing since 2019, with the lender growing impatient and ordering the auction of the property.
On September 7, Justice John Mativo dismissed a case by Easy Properties and affirmed Mr Gichuhi’s decision.
“The final award delivered by the Hon Arbitrator, Advocate Allen Waiyaki Gichuhi, be and is hereby recognised and adopted as a judgment of this court,”the judge ordered.
Easy Properties has filed a notice of appeal, seeking to challenge Justice Mativo’s judgment.
Mrs Mwangi said she had instructed her lawyers to challenge the intended auction in court.
Express Connections was started by the late John Mugo Mwangi, who died in December 2011 leaving the management of the company to the wife Ms Mary Wangari-Mwangi.
Before his death, Ms Mwangi revealed that the husband left at least Ksh40 million in the bank, which she intended to invest in business.
“He left us some money, a good Sh40 million. I felt that that was the seed I would plant in a facility that would outlive us; such that when we are long gone, people would still be reading about Sir John,”she told the Nation.
In the recent past, she lost four buses to auctioneers, after insurers failed to pay claims.
“Four of my buses have been sold, not because I never paid the monies that were financed when I went for the buses, but because of a failed insurance company,”she said.