A Sh577 million fraud suit linked to the development of the multibillion-shilling exclusive office block, 14 Riverside, has moved to the Supreme Court, adding a new twist to the eight-year row.
The top court has started hearing a petition on whether the owners of the six luxury office blocks should pay Sh1.6 billion to its former partner, Synergy Industrial Credit Limited, for breach of contract and lost business after the collapse of the joint venture.
Synergy had paid Sh577 million for a stake in 14 Riverside before terminating the partnership, accusing the owners under a vehicle known as Cape Holdings of diverting the funds and slowing construction.
It successfully petitioned the High Court to pursue fraud allegations against the owners and won Sh1.6 billion compensation that Cape Holdings blocked at the Appeals Court.
Now, Synergy has moved to the Supreme Court to overturn the Appeals Court ruling and push for a refund of the Sh577million, interest and lost business for nine years.
The commercial complex, opened in 2012 and owned by the Sanghrajka family, proprietors of Tile & Carpet Centre, comprises office blocks with retail spaces on the ground floor, a parking silo and a 100-room hotel on the ground floor.
The family through property management Knight Frank has in recent weeks defended 14 Riverside against accusation that it was built on riparian land and that sections of it are due for demolitions.
A multi-agency team carrying out the demolitions of structures on riparian land in Nairobi said a section of the property was built on land adjacent to a river.
Before the Supreme Court action, Synergy had won a High Court fight seeking investigation of Cape Holdings for obtaining money through false pretense.
Cape Holdings wanted the court to dismiss the complaints raised by Synergy claiming the money it purportedly obtained by false pretenses was paid under an agreement, and maintained the row was civil.
The Sanghrajka family in 2011 entered a Sh700m deal with Synergy for development 14 Riverside.
Synergy paid Sh577 million in exchange for one of the office blocks, but later walked out of the deal six months later citing breach of contracts and diversion of funds, prompting the dispute to be referred for arbitration.
The arbitration was led by commercial lawyer Ochieng Oduol who found Cape Holdings at fault, and awarded Synergy Sh1.6 billion.
Cape Holdings has opposed refunding the Sh570 million and arbiter compensation, prompting Supreme Court suit.
The office of the DPP and Synergy got High Court order asking police to investigate Cape Holdings accounts at I&M bank.
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.
“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.
He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.
The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.
People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.
For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.
Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.
“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”
According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.
Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans
The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.
Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.
Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options.
This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.
The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.
The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.
The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).
The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.
The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour; Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).
The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.
Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”
He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.