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How Banda Homes Is Fleecing Kenyans, Rebranding After Fraudulent Past –

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Banda Managing Director Paul Nderitu. [IMAGE/ COURTESY]

Real estate and property development seems to be the leeway to get easy money from the rising middle class in Nairobi. Every month, a real estate company sprouts, and at the same time an old one starts to sink.

What most people fail to know is that the new companies are connected to the old ones only rebranding to remain afloat.

Research shows a nosediving real estate market, with the uptake diminishing everyday. This has slowed down development of new property attributable to slowed cash flow since most of these companies depend on the monthly contributions of prospective home owners to develop new houses.

The case is not different with Banda Homes, common in city advertisements. The company, as Kahawa Tungu’s investigative desk has learnt, has since its inception rebranded three times after a dirty past to dupe its clients.

It started out as Dinara developers around 2011, then Lettas developers around 2013, then Banda homes in 2018. The directors mastered the art of rebranding each time after soiling their reputation of not delivering on their projects through mismanagement of funds.

As we speak now there are projects that started as far back as 2011 that are still ongoing, and still today you have customers buying into Banda Homes as they are unaware of this fraudulent past.

At the center of this circus is Andrew Kamau Muhiu, a 35-year old fellow living a good life with a dozen homes and high end vehicles.

Read: Qatar Investment Authority Injects Ksh20 Billion To Reduce Airtel Africa’s Debt

Unknown to many people, he is a brother to the late lawyer Paul Magu Muhiu, who committed cult killings of his wife and three children, before committing suicide back in 2015.

Knowing of his soiled reputation, he hides behind curtains and has put up his former employees as directors so that potential buyers don’t stumble on his fraudulent past.

Mr Kamau has court cases to his neck from his previous unfinished projects from mismanagement in Dinara and Lettas developers. Some projects are in Thindigua and a handful in Thika. His solution was to raise funds externally to plug the deficit as the cases were not going away and have been on for years.

In January 2018 he launched two housing estates in Kimunyu, Kenyatta Road. Through vigorous marketing sold out about 100 units securing a deposit of Ksh150 million (houses cost Ksh4 million with a deposit of Ksh1.5 million, and the balance to be paid in 10 months.

Part of this money went to clear deficits of his previous failed projects. He further launched more estates between January and April 2018 with most being along Kenyatta Road off Thika Road and some in Kikuyu near Sigona totaling about 900 units and collecting deposits of about Ksh1.5 billion.

This amount was used to partly pay for the land of the estates and about Ksh200 million diverted to finish up the old projects.

Going forward he had a deficit of about Ksh300 million diverted to old projects. Also a lion share of these deposits was used to purchase the pieces of land.

Mr Kamau convinced one of the heirs of the Kenyatta family to sell him a 20 acre piece for Ksh7 million per acre. He had 145 housing units designed on this piece of land and sold them out in a month getting about Ksh218 million in deposits.

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Insider sources reveal that he used this to pay part of the land cost and to cover back the Ksh300 million diverted from Banda homes.

Read: Banda Homes In Land Row With Kenyatta Family

When Former First lady Mama Ngina heard about the price their family land was sold at, she rejected the sale and returned the deposit to Banda homes.

After several media exposés, most buyers came for their refunds but were told to wait, as there was no money anyway. Banda homes went on to launch two more estates with about 300 units, seeking to solve their issues with customer deposits.

In all these estates customers were expected to continue with monthly installments of about 300,000 each, to support ongoing construction. But on noticing very slow progress despite the consistent payments, most started holding on further payments until they see satisfactory progress on their housing units.

The contract papers state that anyone who decides to pull out forfeits 40 per cent of their initial deposit. This means that most buyers are trapped in, having a choice to wait for stagnated project or lose 40 per cent of their money.

Read: Walter Odum: The Cartel Operative In Muhoroni Sugar Reigning Through Threats

Insider sources also reveal the bitter truth to this desk that some of these estates have only done bush clearing despite having been sold out.

Like pyramid schemes, the lifeline of Banda Homes has been deposits from new buyers, being the reason the company has launched estates totaling 1500 units in just a year.

“Problem is more and more Kenyans are still buying into this estates not knowing what awaits them. They are roped in by cheap prices and a vigorous marketing machine ‘The Property Show’ included,” says our source.

Do you know of a sensitive story you would like us to get our hands on? Email your news TIPS to [email protected]  or WhatsApp +254708677607. 



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Sordid tale of the bank ‘that would bribe God’

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Bank of Credit and Commerce International. August 1991. [File, Standard]

“This bank would bribe God.” These words of a former employee of the disgraced Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) sum up one of the most rotten global financial institutions.
BCCI pitched itself as a top bank for the Third World, but its spectacular collapse would reveal a web of transnational corruption and a playground for dictators, drug lords and terrorists.
It was one of the largest banks cutting across 69 countries and its aftermath would cause despair to innocent depositors, including Kenyans.
BCCI, which had $20 billion (Sh2.1 trillion in today’s exchange rate) assets globally, was revealed to have lost more than its entire capital.
The bank was founded in 1972 by the crafty Pakistani banker Agha Hasan Abedi.
He was loved in his homeland for his charitable acts but would go on to break every rule known to God and man.
In 1991, the Bank of England (BoE) froze its assets, citing large-scale fraud running for several years. This would see the bank cease operations in multiple countries. The Luxembourg-based BCCI was 77 per cent owned by the Gulf Emirate of Abu Dhabi.  
BoE investigations had unearthed laundering of drugs money, terrorism financing and the bank boasted of having high-profile customers such as Panama’s former strongman Manual Noriega as customers.
The Standard, quoting “highly placed” sources reported that Abu Dhabi ruler Sheikh Zayed Sultan would act as guarantor to protect the savings of Kenyan depositors.
The bank had five branches countrywide and panic had gripped depositors on the state of their money.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) would then move to appoint a manager to oversee the operations of the BCCI operations in Kenya.
It sent statements assuring depositors that their money was safe.
The Standard reported that the Sheikh would be approaching the Kenyan and other regional subsidiaries of the bank to urge them to maintain operations and assure them of his personal support.
It was said that contact between CBK and Abu Dhabi was “likely.”
This came as the British Ambassador to the UAE Graham Burton implored the gulf state to help compensate Britons, and the Indian government also took similar steps.
The collapse of BCCI was, however, not expect to badly hit the Kenyan banking system. This was during the sleazy 1990s when Kenya’s banking system was badly tested. It was the era of high graft and “political banks,” where the institutions fraudulently lent to firms belonging or connected to politicians, who were sometimes also shareholders.
And even though the impact was expected to be minimal, it was projected that a significant number of depositors would transfer funds from Asian and Arab banks to other local institutions.
“Confidence in Arab banking has taken a serious knock,” the “highly placed” source told The Standard.
BCCI didn’t go down without a fight. It accused the British government of a conspiracy to bring down the Pakistani-run bank.  The Sheikh was said to be furious and would later engage in a protracted legal battle with the British.
“It looks to us like a Western plot to eliminate a successful Muslim-run Third World Bank. We know that it often acted unethically. But that is no excuse for putting it out of business, especially as the Sultan of Abu Dhabi had agreed to a restructuring plan,” said a spokesperson for British Asians.
A CBK statement signed by then-Deputy Governor Wanjohi Murithi said it was keenly monitoring affairs of the mother bank and would go to lengths to protect Kenyan depositors.
“In this respect, the CBK has sought and obtained the assurance of the branch’s management that the interests of depositors are not put at risk by the difficulties facing the parent company and that the bank will meet any withdrawal instructions by depositors in the normal course of business,” said Mr Murithi.
CBK added that it had maintained surveillance of the local branch and was satisfied with its solvency and liquidity.
This was meant to stop Kenyans from making panic withdrawals.
For instance, armed policemen would be deployed at the bank’s Nairobi branch on Koinange Street after the bank had announced it would shut its Kenyan operations.
In Britain, thousands of businesses owned by British Asians were on the verge of financial ruin following the closure of BCCI.
Their firms held almost half of the 120,000 bank accounts registered with BCCI in Britain. 
The African Development Bank was also not spared from this mess, with the bulk of its funds deposited and BCCI and stood to lose every coin.
Criminal culture
In Britain, local authorities from Scotland to the Channel Islands are said to have lost over £100 million (Sh15.2 billion in today’s exchange rate).
The biggest puzzle remained how BCCI was allowed by BoE and other monetary regulation authorities globally to reach such levels of fraudulence.
This was despite the bank being under tight watch owing to the conviction of some of its executives on narcotics laundering charges in the US.
Coast politician, the late Shariff Nassir, would claim that five primary schools in Mombasa lost nearly Sh1 million and appealed to then Education Minister George Saitoti to help recover the savings. Then BoE Governor Robin Leigh-Pemberton condemned it as so deeply immersed in fraud that rescue or recovery – at least in Britain – was out of the question.
“The culture of the bank is criminal,” he said. The bank was revealed to have targeted the Third World and had created several “institutional devices” to promote its operations in developing countries.
These included the Third World Foundation for Social and Economic Studies, a British-registered charity.
“It allowed it to cultivate high-level contacts among international statesmen,” reported The Observer, a British newspaper.
BCCI also arranged an annual Third World lecture and a Third World prize endowment fund of about $10 million (Sh1 billion in today’s exchange rate).
Winners of the annual prize had included Nelson Mandela (1985), sir Bob Geldof (1986) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1989).
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Tracking and monitoring motor vehicles is not new to Kenyans. Competition to install affordable tracking devices is fierce but essential for fleet managers who receive reports online and track vehicles from the comfort of their desk.

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Agricultural Development Corporation Chief Accountant Gerald Karuga on the Spot Over Fraud –

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Gerald Karuga, the acting chief accountant at the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC), is on the spot over fraud in land dealings.

ADC was established in 1965 through an Act of Parliament Cap 346 to facilitate the land transfer programme from European settlers to locals after Kenya gained independence.

Karuga is under fire for allegedly aiding a former powerful permanent secretary in the KANU era Benjamin Kipkulei to deprive ADC beneficiaries of their land in Naivasha.

Kahawa Tungu understands that the aggrieved parties continue to protest the injustice and are now asking the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to probe Karuga.

A source who spoke to Weekly Citizen publication revealed that Managing Director Mohammed Dulle is also involved in the mess at ADC.

Read: Ministry of Agriculture Apologizes After Sending Out Tweets Portraying the President in bad light

Dulle is accused of sidelining a section of staffers in the parastatal.

The sources at ADC intimated that Karuga has been placed strategically at ADC to safeguard interests of many people who acquired the corporations’ land as “donations” from former President Daniel Arap Moi.

Despite working at ADC for many years Karuga has never been transferred, a trend that has raised eyebrows.

“Karuga has worked here for more than 30 years and unlike other senior officers in other parastatals who are transferred after promotion or moved to different ministries, for him, he has stuck here for all these years and we highly suspect that he is aiding people who were dished out with big chunks of land belonging to the corporation in different parts of the country,” said the source.

In the case of Karuga safeguarding Kipkulei’s interests, workers at the parastatals and the victims who claim to have lost their land in Naivasha revealed that during the Moi regime some senior officials used dubious means to register people as beneficiaries of land without their knowledge and later on colluded with rogue land officials at the Ministry of Lands to acquire title deeds in their names instead of those of the benefactors.

Read Also: Galana Kulalu Irrigation Scheme To Undergo Viability Test Before Being Privatised

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“We have information that Karuga has benefitted much from Kipkulei through helping him and this can be proved by the fact that since the matter of the Naivasha land began, he has been seen changing and buying high-end vehicles that many people of his rank in government can’t afford to buy or maintain,” the source added.

“He is even building a big apartment for rent in Ruiru town.”

The wealthy officer is valued at over Sh1.5 billion in prime properties and real estate.

Last month, more than 100 squatters caused scenes in Naivasha after raiding a private firm owned by Kipkulei.

The squatters, who claimed to have lived on the land for more than 40 years, were protesting take over of the land by a private developer who had allegedly bought the land from the former PS.

They pulled down a three-kilometre fence that the private developed had erected.

The squatters claimed that the former PS had not informed them that he had sold the land and that the developer was spraying harmful chemicals on the grass affecting their livestock and homes built on a section of the land.

Read Also: DP Ruto Wants NCPB And Other Agricultural Bodies Merged For Efficiency

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Kisilu Mutua later issued a statement warning the squatters against encroaching on Kipkuleir’s land.

“They are illegally invading private land. We shall not allow the rule of the jungle to take root,” warned Mutua.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary committee recently demanded to know identities of 10 faceless people who grabbed 30,350 acres of land belonging to the parastatal, exposing the rot at the corporation.

ADC Chairman Nick Salat, who doubles up as the KANU party Secretary-General, denied knowledge of the individuals and has asked DCI to probe the matter.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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William Ruto eyes Raila Odinga Nyanza backyard

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Deputy President William Ruto will next month take his ‘hustler nation’ campaigns to his main rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Nyanza backyard, in an escalation of the 2022 General Election competition.

Acrimonious fall-out

Development agenda

Won’t bear fruit

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