THE high court has restrained I&M bank from auctioning property belonging to a firm in Nairobi over an accrued debt of Ksh2 billion till the bank produces a true and proper accounts affecting the facility.
I&M,the court was told , has already sold two of the prime properties situated in the city’s Lower Kabete area and has put an advert for the sale of a third house owned by Highgrove holdings limited.
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Justice Wilfrida Okwany was told that the properties had been disposed a day before the scheduled hearing of the suit and that if the bank was not stopped by a temporary order the sale would be effected and render the court proceedings nugatory.
The judge took issue with the reported and confirmed sale of property while matters “are still on going” in court saying such monkey business makes a mockery of the pursuit of justice.
“The respondent has proceeded to unlawfully dispose of the suit property without any proper valuation and Notice as required by law,” Highgrove holdings limited’s lawyer Eddy Orinda told the court.
Orinda said that despite the advertisement for the same of the third property, his client alleges that he has fully paid for the house.
“No proper reconciliation of accounts has been done and the applicant is apprehensive that the bank has been overcharging illegal interests on the facility,” the lawyer said.
I&M advanced a loan to Highgrove that was secured by three high cost residential houses in Lower Kabete known as High grove village.
An affidavit sworn by the firms manager Kirit Kumar states that High grove has had a good relationship with the bank until was unable to clear the amount it borrowed.
The court heard that unless the bank was stopped alongside its auctioneers, Garam Investments limited, the property would be transferred for values below the market rates,
I&M bank,the court was told has refused to disclose proper accounts affecting the loan facility despite a request by the applicant.
The bank’s lawyer Allen Gichuhi confirmed in court that two of the properties had since been auctioned despite the on going litigation.
According to Gichuhi no law had been broken nor a court order ignored as there was no existing restraint by the time the house went under the auctioneers hammer.
‘Two of the properties were sold and this the equity of redemption has been extinguished,” the lawyer told justice Okwany. He added that even after the sale of the two buildings,the debt is still in a shortfall of Ksh1.5 billion.
Gichuhi confirmed that the buyers are yet to access the property even after the sale which according to Orinda was illegal and is hell bent on prejudicing Highgrove.
Orinda said the bank has gone a head to advertise a third house despite the on going battle in court a thing the judge did not take lightly.
‘The sale was done a day before the court appearance…” Orinda charged.
He said the insinuation that the redemption has been overtaken by events has been made in “bad faith.”He said to date proper accounts have not been rendered and that a request for an analysis of interest rates and how they were applied has been ignored.
Justice Okwany issued the stop order and warned I&M saying that after a matter is fixed for hearing and “in the meantime other things are going on it renders the entire process nugatory.”
The judge ordered that the sale be stopped until after the matter is heard and determined.
Hearing is on June 19 2019.