A Nairobi High Court has rejected an offer by Taj mall owner to pay Sh20,000 instalments per month for four years as guarantee for an appeal against a debt owed to Cobra Security.
The mall which was located in Embakasi in Nairobi was demolished in 2018 leaving the owners in financial constraints and facing auctioneers.
Taj Mall Managing Director, Rameshchandra Govind Gorasia who vied for Nairobi Senate seat in the last general election and lost, said he could not raise Sh3.2 million required as a guarantee to file an appeal against Cobra Security.
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He offered instead to pay Sh20,000 a month for a third of the sum (Sh1.06 million) and secure the rest with a logbook of a Caterpillar wheeloader valued at Sh3.2 million.
Judge Jacqueline Kamau refused to grant Mr Gorasia the reprieve saying that the case would be completed before he finished paying the guarantee.
She added that the logbook for the Wheeloader could not be accepted because by the time the appeal was concluded there was no guarantee it will still hold the value of Sh3.2 million as it would depreciate due to wear and tear as a result of its usage.
“Bearing in mind that the court had directed that it files its Record of Appeal by 29th January 2019 and it would be expected that the appeal herein should have been heard in the next four years, this proposal was not acceptable to court,” Judge Kamau said.
“It is unfortunate that the Applicant was facing serious financial challenges but this court’s hands were tied and could not assist it in any way. This court, however, hoped that the Applicant had used the time between when it filed the present application and the date of delivery of the Ruling herein, which is roughly nine months, to re-organise itself financially,” she said.
Taj Mall, located at the junction of North Airport Road and the expanded Outering Road saw its tenants run from the property after construction of the new road cut off its entrance and exit as well as external parking.
It was eventually reduced to a rubble in September 2018 over claims it was built on a road reserve leaving its owners in huge debts.
Mr. Gorasia said they owed Shelter Afrique who financed the building $2.9 million (Sh327 million) and that Nextgen Auctioneers had issued it with a Proclamation of Attachment.
He said as at March 2020, his company was owed Sh69.2 million by its debtors which it was hoping to collect to help offset some of its debts.
Mr. Gorasia said the company was willing to co-operate with the court but that it was being prevented from doing so due to its economic stature.