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Little-known city tycoon puts his Sh80 billion empire up for sale

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Diamond Plaza in Highridge, Nairobi. The building is owned by businessman Madatali Chatur, whose real estate interests comprise commercial, residential and hospitality enterprises.

By BRIAN WASUNA and JOHN KAMAU

Of all the Kenyan billionaires — and they are a handful — reclusive businessman Madatali Chatur could be the least known.

Although he shuns publicity these days, he was in the 80s a common face in the media but as money, power, and wealth followed him, he became the invisible billionaire.

With a fortune that runs into billions of shillings, his decision to sell all his Kenyan properties, estimated to be worth Sh76.99 billion, must have caught everyone by surprise — but not those who know him.

“He was not getting well with some government people,” a source who knows him told us without getting into details.

WARNING SIGNS

Whether he has seen warning signs ahead in the real estate market, or he is escaping from uncertainty is not clear. Some pundits see this dramatic decision as either a vote of no confidence in the economy — or a feeling that he can no longer survive the changing political atmosphere.

For over three decades, Mr Chatur built an enviable empire with several properties on hundreds of acres spread across the country, which he claims, rose from an electronic shop that he opened in River Road, Nairobi, in 1977.

During the days of Kanu, Mr Chatur was a blue-eyed boy of the regime and hobnobbed with the party mandarins, power brokers and security chiefs — including some former police commissioners who were on his speed dial.

He would also be part of Asian delegations to State House, contributing money President Moi’s projects and was a known philanthropist.

As his networks grew and wealth ballooned, Mr Chatur consolidated his portfolio under a group that boasts 16 companies, all of which own prime land in Nairobi, Nakuru, Machakos, Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale and Turkana counties.

Little had been heard about Mr Chatur until February this year when Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter was arrested alongside Mr Arthur Ingolo Sakwa and “a Mr Madatali Chatur” for what the Central Bank of Kenya and the Banking Fraud Investigations Unit said was presenting a forged 90-day Treasury Bills dated 1990.

NOT RELATED

But the Chatur Group of Companies said the arrested “Mr Madat Suburali Chatur” was not related to their chairman, Mr Madat Saburali Chatur.

At the moment, the actual reasons for the looming sale remain unknown, as efforts to get an explanation from Mr Chatur have been futile.

The businessman told the Daily Nation on Saturday last week that he was out of town and would get in touch once back.

He has since not answered calls or responded to text messages.

Investigations by the Daily Nation have however revealed that the businessman, reputed to be one of the wealthiest in Kenya, has land and buildings valued at Sh76.99 billion.

Each of his 16 companies own prime properties, while some of the real estate is registered in his own name.

The Chatur Group mainly deals in real estate, but it has now emerged that the tycoon also has interests in the agriculture sector, owning two farms in Kwale and Malindi measuring 32,499 acres.

He co-owns most of the companies with his eldest son — Rahim.

MARKED FOR DEMOLITION

But even as Mr Chatur looks to cash in on his vast empire, City Hall has marked two of his properties for demolition, arguing that the billionaire businessman acquired building approvals illegally.

City Hall in August gave notice to Mr Chatur’s tenants at New Muthaiga Mall and a car bazaar the tycoon owns in Gigiri that it would be bringing down the constructions. Mr Chatur has since sued through Gemini Properties (New Muthaiga Mall) and Scorpion Properties (Gigiri Mall).

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Judicial review division judge Pauline Nyamweya last Wednesday transferred the suit to the lands courts.

“Neither the applicants nor their tenants were afforded a fair administrative action before this decision was made since no prior notice was given of the decision nor a hearing was afforded to the applicant or its tenant.”

“There is no claim by the director of physical planning in the enforcement notice or any iota of evidence that the herein attached approvals of the development plans were acquired through fraudulent means or are forgeries. The applicants’ buildings have been financed by a bank facility which is being paid to date. The loss of tenants will lead to foreclosure of the applicants’ property, which will cause substantial loss and irreparable harm,” Mr Chatur’s son Rahim says in court papers.

REAL ESTATE INTERESTS

His real estate interests are spread across commercial, residential and hospitality facilities.

His commercial buildings include Mithoo House, Diamond Plaza, Diamond Plaza II, Hope International, Ngara Shopping Complex, Simba Centre, Mariam Arcade, Likoni Mall, Trust Building and New Muthaiga Shopping Mall.

The residential buildings include Langata Paradise Apartments, Bahari Dhow Villas, and houses in Nyari Estate and Fourth Parklands Avenue.

His hospitality arm has the Concord Hotel and Suites, Mara Concord, Shelly Beach Resort and the Cloud Hotel.

The agriculture side has land in Lokichogio, Maanzoni in Machakos, Syokimau, Malindi, Mai Mahiu and Mombasa.

Leo Investments is perhaps the billionaire’s most successful venture, owning several high value properties such as Diamond Plaza (Sh20 billion) named after his late brother, Concord Hotel (Sh3 billion), Mithoo House on River Road (Sh2 billion), the Mara Concord (Sh700 million), Ngara Shopping Complex (Sh480 million) among others.

Diamond Plaza, aside from letting space to several shops, also hosts the Chatur Group offices.

LITANY OF CASES

The businessman’s wealth has not been without controversy, as he has been a defendant in a litany of court cases filed against him and his firms over deals gone sour.

At least twice, Mr Chatur has been found to be in contempt of court in property battles, which has seen him fined.

In 2010, High Court judge Ruth Sitati fined Mr Chatur and his son Rahim Sh300,000 after finding that they disobeyed her order stopping works on the Sh3 billion New Muthaiga Shopping Mall.

The stop order had been issued following a suit by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, which was investigating how the land ended up in the hands of private developers, having been listed as public property.

Muthaiga residents had gone to court seeking to have the construction of the mall stopped, saying the land had been earmarked for a nursery school and a clinic.

“The public plot was allocated to Gemini Properties with a new land reference number being 209/9295 in place of the original 209/8000/84, subject however to certain special conditions and in particular condition number 5 which was to the effect that the suit property would be used for a clinic and day nursery school,” say court papers.

‘ILLEGAL ALLOCATION’

The allocation of the suit property consisted of a public utility, was illegal and accordingly Gemini Properties holds the suit property in trust for the citizens of Kenya and for the residents of New Muthaiga in particular,” the residents argued.

Justice Sitati, who also presided over the claim by Muthaiga residents, ruled that only the Attorney General could sue to recover public land, which allowed Mr Chatur to start construction of the mall.

Mr Chatur’s family owns New Muthaiga Shopping Mall through Gemini Properties.

Five years later, another High Court judge, Olga Sewe, found Mr Chatur in contempt.

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New Bae? Sherlyne Anyango Gets Naughty With Mzungu In The States (Video)

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After declaring that long distance relationships aren’t for her, Sherlyne Anyango might have bagged herself a new mzungu boyfriend. It’s barely days since she left the country to go to the States to ‘hustle’. According to her, it’s easier to hustle in the States with her twerking talent.

Love At First Sight?

Photo-Courtesy/

Well, she moved on quickly! This was the reaction of most of her fans after Sherlyne went live with her new catch. Most people were surprised by how fast she possibly got a boyfriend. But she hasn’t made it clear.

While this might seem unfair to her Kenyan bae, Oga Obinna, it was a mutual agreement between them to dissolve their relationship due to the distance between them.

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”I’m a single boy again now😪😱!! Now with the standards you set who will fit in🤷🏿 who will fill your shoes??But Si Ni Life… But for now Kill Them with your AWESOMENESS and SECURE THE BAG!!! Don’t let nobody tell you otherwise. Plus there will always be space for you in my Heart and Kidney🙊🙈🙏🏿.”

In line to this, Sherlyne had also declared how much she misses Obinna and wrote back to him;

  ”Don’t make me cry. That’s life 😞😞. I feel bad. I miss you badly.”

Well, turns out she won’t be missing him any more after getting a new catch. Obinna has not yet responded to Sherlyne’s video posted on her Insta stories. I bet he’s not happy seeing her with another man.

Below is the video;


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Tips to help you get the perfect blazer Eve woman

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 Choosing a blazer is key as it can either break or make your outfit (Image: Pinterest)

 

When it comes to buying or tailoring a new blazer, most people think it’s all about getting what fits. Even though that is one of the most vital things to focus on when selecting blazers, there are other things you need to look out for in order to have a perfect and versatile blazer.

Versatile is not just about being able to match most pieces in your closet, but something that will enhance your outfits and define your best features while at it. In case you are wondering on where to start with buying a blazer, start here:

 Always go for a colour that will pair well with most pieces in your closet (Image: Pinterest)

Yes, this is the first thing you should consider before making or buying yourself a blazer. You need to check your closet and consider the most dominant colour and pieces, can they be layered with a blazer or paired together?

Once that is set, you are good to go, though the more colourful a blazer is the more fun you will have pairing it with other pieces.

When selecting the perfect blazer always be very careful not to choose a small blazer. You might confuse a small blazer for a fitting one.

It should not be too tight that your shoulders cannot move in it or you can barely button it.

Although ladies are lucky they can go with any arm length, because it can be considered fashionable, ensure that it is your size. Also, avoid going for extra-large coats that will drown you and hide your best features.

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 The design and texture of a blazer will play heavily on how good you look (Image: Pinterest)

A blazer is in between a suit jacket and a hoodie. Meaning, it should be able to pass for official and casual events. Let your guide be what you are buying it for.

There are different kinds of blazers ranging from open front blazers, single breasted blazers, belted ones, the list is endless.

Always go for a blazer that resonates with your style and closet items. Also, long blazers are classier and versatile than the shorter boyfriend ones. This is in terms of versatility.

Are you looking for a linen blazer, cotton or the suit material fabric? Do you want it shiny or matte? Do you need one with metal studded elements or with embellished buttons like the army? The kind of texture you go for will determine the way you dress your blazer.

Although blazers are meant to match with all outfits, the kind of design you go for can either limit your outfit choices or broaden your matching game.

 The longer the blazer, the more you can play around with your pieces (Image: Pinterest)

They say the longer the blazer, the double the respect. You already know what I mean by this. Longer blazers are more eye catching, trendy and versatile. It will be easier for you to pair them to a tiny skirt, pencil trouser or palazzos.

Also did I mention how well they pair with crop tops? Yes, when buying a blazer, the length is very important.

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Sewage Menace in Pipeline, Residents Cry For Help

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By Milo George

Residents of Pipeline Transami area are decrying poor drainage system that has caused sewage water to overflow in their area of residence.

The residents claim that the overflowing sewage is not only putting their lives at risk but also causing air pollution.

They have called on Nairobi Metropolitan Services and Nairobi City Water and Sewage Company to come on board and expand the sewer lines before more areas are flooded with raw human wastes coming from the blocked pipes.
“We want Major Badi and our leaders to resolve this menace immediately. It’s terrible many have been forced to shift their businesses because of the foul smell,” they said.
Pastor Joe Ndivoh of Word Evangelistic Explosion Ministries says that they have been forced to call off the Sunday School Service to protect the children from the smelly sewage.
‘‘We now fear that if prompt action is not taken then we will have a bigger health problem than this because we fear there could be an outbreak of water-borne disease anytime,’’ Pastor Ndivoh added.


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