Lady Justice Lucy Mbugua/ NMG
NAIROBI, Kenya May 25- A judge in Nairobi’s Environment and Land Court has ordered a lawyer to refund Sh4.4 million and pay a fine of Sh3 million after his client failed to transfer a house in the Lavington area more than ten years ago.
Justice Lucy Mbugua found that Onesmus Githinji and his client were liable following a collapsed property sale back in 2007.
The judge said Ahmed Noorani, should be refunded the Sh4.4 million, which he paid as a deposit to acquire the house in 2007 in addition to exemplary damages of Sh3 million after the developer failed to hand over the building.
“As the matter stands now, the plaintiff never got the Villa and the sum of Sh4.4 million appears to have gone down the drain. I do find that the defendants were in breach of their contractual obligations,” the judge said.
In his defense, the lawyer pleaded that some of the details of the botched transaction were privileged communication. The judge however dismissed his plea.
Justice Mbugua further dismissed the lawyer’s explanation of how the money deposited to his client’s account was utilised.
According to the lawyer, he received the deposit for onward transfer to the developer which he lawfully released upon receipt.
“I find that the exemplary damages are appropriate in the circumstances noting that the deposit was made way back in the year 2007,” the judge noted.
Noorani told the court that he initially planned to purchase a Villa in the Lavington area for a sum total of Sh17 million.
The houses were under construction and Noorani paid Sh4.4 million as a deposit, through the law firm, as the lawyer acted on behalf of the seller and the buyer.
During his submissions, the lawyer highlighted that he released the funds for the purposes of completing the villa after which his client was required to hand the finished project over to the buyer.
The court said the money should be calculated at an interest of 14 percent from November 2007 until payment in full.