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Planning Assist. Minister Peter Kenneth Locked in Row Over Illegal Sale of KNAC House

Planning assistant minister Peter Kenneth risks losing a multi-million-shilling house he owns in Nairobi, but which Parliament says was illegally acquired from the collapsed Kenya National Assurance Company.

Parliament’s Public Investment Committee (PIC) on Tuesday said it would ask the Ministry of Lands to place a caveat on the property that Mr Kenneth bought from a private company in 1998 – a move that would deny the minister any legal claim over it.

However, Mr Kenneth put a strong defence against accusations that he influenced the sale of the property to a company belonging to his former boss at Prudential Bank and later to another owned by his friends before he ultimately took possession of it.

“You applied pressure on KNAC to transfer the house to Endo, Marenyo and ultimately to Andrea,” Juja MP William Kabogo told Mr Kenneth when he appeared before the parliamentary committee.

Mr Kabogo said his claim was tied to the fact that Mr Kenneth worked at Prudential Bank at the time Endo entered into a single sourced-non valued agreement to purchase the property from KNAC with the bank as the financier.

But the assistant minister maintained that he had nothing to do with any transactions that took place before Andrea, a company he co-owns with Joe Okwach, a lawyer and Marks Okwach, bought the property.

“I was the general manager in charge of liquidity at Prudential Bank when Kipkoti was the executive chairman. There was a managing director and even though I interacted with Mr Ambrose Rachier and Mr Omondi Mbago who were the largest depositors, I had nothing to do with the purchase of the property,” Mr Kenneth said in response to the allegation.

Mr Rachier, a Nairobi lawyer, is the proprietor of Marenyo Limited – the company that bought the house from Endo Limited – the firm that originally bought the property from KNAC for Sh11.7 million.

Endo Limited is associated with Mr Wilson Kipkoti – who was executive chairman of Prudential Bank at the time.

Mr Kenneth acknowledged owning the house, which is located on LR No.7762/96 in Nairobi through Andrea Limited.

He told the committee that Andrea had bought the house from Marenyo Limited in 1998 at a price of Sh18.8 million and that Marenyo Limited purchased the property from Endo Limited – a company associated with Mr Kipkoti.

The PIC, chaired by Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi, is investigating how Kenya National Assurance 2001 and Kenya National Assurance Company (in liquidation) sold the property to Endo at a cost of Sh1.3 million leaving a balance of Sh11.7 million that has not been paid to date.

ALSO READ: Mbaru tangled in illegal sale of KNAC house

The committee heard that Marenyo Limited acquired the property after it paid Endo Sh8.5 million and then transferred the balance that the original buyer Endo owed KNAC to an agent of the attorney-general for remittance to the official receiver, Mr Mbago.

Mr Kenneth told the committee that he had nothing to do with the transactions between Marenyo, Endo, the official receiver and KNAC, stating that his company, Andrea, purchased the property lawfully from Marenyo Limited.

“I had nothing to do with the transactions between Marenyo, Endo and KNAC. Andrea Limited, in which I, my advocate Joe Okwach and Dr Marks Okwatch are directors, bought the property legally from Marenyo, whose director is my friend Rachier in 1998,” he said.

The Gatanga MP testified before the PIC after Mr Mbago and Mr Rachier linked him to the property in their testimony to the committee on September 22, 2011.

The assistant minister, who was accompanied by his advocate and co-director Mr Okwach, showed the committee a copy of the Sh11.7 million cheque payment to the official receiver dated September 10, 1996, through an agent of the attorney-general – a settlement he said was done through special clearance.

“The issue that you should be investigating and, I want to help the committee to do so, is to find out where the funds went,” Mr Kenneth said.

“Let’s investigate what happened to the payments that Marenyo Limited made to the official government receiver, the attorney-general’s agent and KNAC. My guess is that the agent and the official receiver did not inform KNAC of the payments,” he said.

Mr Kenneth also showed the committee copies of the sale agreement signed between his firm and Marenyo Limited but the committee demanded that he produces the original copy, which he said was with the Central Bank.

The assistant minister was unable to explain how Marenyo sold Andrea the property at Sh18.5 million yet it had acquired it at a cumulative price of Sh21.5 million.

Source: Business Daily Africa

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