Having a prime plot in a major city is one of the biggest prestige for any person, and it was so for Mr Charles Jumae when he bought a piece of land in Mombasa.
However, little did he know that the plot would be the genesis of his problem when he leased it to Mohammed Kanyere’s company Express Procurement Ltd.
According to the lease agreement signed in January 1994, Express Procurement Ltd had agreed to pay a monthly rent of Ksh10,000 to Mr Jumae.
However, by 1996, the two were involved in a rent-tussle after the company ran into rent arrears amounting to Ksh480,000.
This forced Mr Jumae to hire the services of Mwanyumba & Company advocates to institute distress for rent (Rent Recovery). The law firm would later refer the case to another law firm, V.N. Nzioki & Company Advocates.
V.N. Nzioki & advocates would employ the services of Marchet Auctioneers (Ltd) to auction the properties in the said plot and recover the rent arrears and costs. However, Express Procurement contested the sale of company properties in court, laying an injunction, which Jumae would appeal and win.
After the injunction was lifted V.N. Nzioki & advocates instructed Marchet Auctioneers to proceed with the sale.
“This is, therefore, to instruct you to urgently levy distress and proceed with the sale as our client has not yet received the rent arrears. Please note that you should recover Kshs480,000 being the total rent arrears, your costs and our costs of Ksh48,000,” read the letter dated February 5, 1998.
At this juncture, V.N. Nzioki & advocates law firm is said to have gone underground, and whether the auction happened or not is still a mystery as Mr Jumae fell sick and was unable to do a followup. He however never received a coin from the advocate.
In 2001, V.N. Nzioki & advocates resurfaced, this time demanding that Mr Jumae pay for the legal fees and auctioning services of Ksh61,000 and Ksh26,000 respectively. This is despite the lawyer promising to recover the rent arrears, her fees and auctioneer costs from the proceeds of the auction.
The fees would by 2004 rise to Ksh236,000, almost half of the amount they were trying to recover from the defaulter.
The figure quickly rose and by December 2004 the figure rose to Ksh790,826, almost double the rent arrears the law firm was tasked to recover.
The law firm would then employ Kameta Enterprises to auction Mr Jumae’s plot for failing to pay for the legal and auctioneer services.
The plot was sold to Shaban Swadi Nkayaon Aug 20, 2005 at the cost of Ksh3.4 million, in which Mr Jumae would have received Ksh2.6 million after the rogue lawyer deducted his exuberant fees.
“It is excruciating, emasculating…I’m devastated by it. I lost millions. Everything I had worked for financially… was gone. And to make matters worse, I suffered a stroke and can hardly provide for my family!”
Mr Jumae is now unable to fend for himself and his family, and now depends on his wife who is the sole bread winner.