Tempers flared at the hearing of a case in which the developers of Hilton Hotels and Resorts’s planned tallest hotel in Africa are sued for contempt of court.

Justice Benard Mweresa Eboso of the Environment and Land Court twice had to warn lawyers from going for each others jugular and a third time had to warn litigants supposedly for going on with construction in the face of a standing court order that had barred the same.

The Registered trustees of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of Kuwait who are the legal owners of the dispute property in Upper Hill, Nairobi, have sued Pelican Engineering and Construction Company Ltd together with Jabavu Village Ltd and WhiteLotus Projects Ltd-the firms behind the planned KSh 11 billion Hilton Nairobi Upper Hill for trespassing on their property.The directors of the said companies may be committed to civil jail,if the court uphold submission by lawyer Ochieng Oduol for the Sultan.

The lawyer said that the civil procedure Act imposes a duty upon lawyers “first to be truthful and secondly, honest with their clients.”

Oduol was accusing the respondents lawyers of not being honest in their dealings in regard to the abuse of a court order tat had earlier barred any activity on the suit property.

“Lawyers must be candid with their clients…” he charged apparently in reference to denials from the defendants lawyers that they were not aware of a court order that had barred activity on the disputed site.

Commercial activity

The court heard that subsequent to the order there were to be no dealing on the property but Jabavu has since purported to lease out the plot for commercial activity.

There are three title against the dispute site, one held by the Sultan, another by suspected land fraudsters and the mother title before subversion, the court heard.

A ruling on the contempt application has been slated for January 25 2018 before the hearing ofteh main suit and determination on who the real owner of the plot is.

Through their lawyer Ochieng, Onyango, Kibet and Ohanga Advocates, the registered trustees of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan aver that Jabavu Village Ltd and White Lotus Projects Ltd have forcefully and in breach of orders of preservation given by the court and had moved into the suit property with seeming impunity.

“There is a real risk and likelihood that the suit property shall be wasted and irreparably damaged and the dignity, honour and authority of this honourable court brought to dispute,” the lawyer submitted.

Management agreement

In October 2016, Hilton Hotels and Resorts announced that it had signed a management agreement with Jabavu Village Ltd to open a 255 guest-room and suite hotel in Kenya’s capital. The hotel is set to open in 2020 and joins 50 Hilton Hotels & Resorts properties trading or under development in 17 countries across Africa.

Mahat Noor, Project Director of Jabavu Village Ltd, reportedly said, “Hilton Nairobi Upper Hill is our first project with Hilton and we are tremendously excited to be collaborating with them on this spectacular development. Hilton Nairobi Upper Hill and the larger mixed-use development, which will include a residential, retail and entertainment complex, as well as an adjacent office tower, will be Africa’s tallest building, standing at 330m.”

Misleading their clients

Co-developed by Jabavu Village and White Lotus Projects, Hilton Nairobi Upper Hill will comprise of an Executive Lounge and five food and beverage outlets, including a relaxing poolside bar, specialty smokehouse and grill restaurant, lobby dining area with landscaped deck and a boutique rooftop bar with unbeatable vista views of the Nairobi skyline on the 43rd level.

Business travelers will have a wide choice of professional facilities to choose from including a ballroom and meeting rooms of approximately 1400sqm.  Guests will also have access to an outdoor pool and fitness and spa centres, thus it is a high stakes case that has now aroused great public interest.

Oduol was categorical that the order that had preserved the site “has not been varied or set aside” and that the contemptuous acts exhibited byte developers calls for punishment.

“A purported ease of the property by the respondents is contempt of court…”the lawyer who took a swipe at his colleagues for misleading their clients submitted.



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