President Uhuru Kenyatta’s long-serving personal assistant Jomo Gecaga risks eviction from a high-end apartment in Nairobi’s Riverside estate after his family’s fallout with former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero over rent.
JSTA Ltd, which is associated with Jomo’s father Udi Gecaga, is seeking to block its eviction from Gem Suites Riverside apartments that costs $5000 (Sh540,000) monthly.
The company wants the court to intervene in the rent fallout, arguing that the apartment’s occupant “will be seriously prejudiced and suffer untold loss and damage not to mention the embarrassment” once the auctioneers are instructed to seize his assets and attempt to evict him from the apartment.
Attachments in court documents show that Mr Kenyatta’s personal assistant Jomo is the occupant of apartment 2C Riverside.
“That a temporary injunction do issue restraining the defendant from unlawfully levying distress, harassing, illegally evicting…pending hearing and determination of this application,” says JSTA.
The row was triggered by a notice seeking to pay the halved rent of Sh250, 000 beyond September to December and a push to forgo paying an additional lease fee of Sh950,000.
Udi had requested the Kideros to extend the offer for paying half rent to December, arguing that the cash flow in the family business had weakened in the wake of Covid-19 economic hardships.
But the Kideros through their investment vehicle Geminvest Limited rejected the request, accusing the Gecagas of refusing to ink a new lease agreement after previous pact lapsed in March 2016
“Geminvest Limited will not accept payment of Sh250,000 only as monthly rent,” the company said in a September 15 notice attached in court documents.
“The company requests that you clear current outstanding bill of Sh950,000 for period ending September 30 and then vacate the unit.”
This has triggered a court fight with JSTA seeking court protection from eviction and assets seizure over the rent arrears.
The case was certified as urgent by Senior Principal Magistrate Agnes Makau who directed parties to appear in court tomorrow (October 6) for hearing.
Court documents show that Geminvest has extended a number of reliefs to help JSTA cope with the impact of the public health crisis on its cash flow.
This included using the Kenya shilling, not the dollar, as the currency for rent payment, reduced rent from $5000 to Sh400,000 in April and Sh250,000 from June to September.
It also allowed the JSTA to offset part of its February and March rent from the $10,000 the company had placed as deposit for the high-end apartment.
The relief was sought on March 30 by Udi, whose son Jomo works at State House and daughter, Nana, serves as chief executive of the iconic Kenyatta International Convention Centre, a State corporation.
Udi’s late father, Bethuel Gecaga, married President Kenyatta’s elder sister, Jeni Wambui.
“We therefore request that you pay the outstanding amount of Sh950,000, renovate and paint the apartment as you found it at the beginning of Jomo Gecaga occupancy on 28th March 2014 then handover the apartment not later than 30th September 2020,” said Geminvest in a termination notice sent to JSTA.
Mr Kidero has a vast real estate business which boasts tenants with fat wallets such as the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and Sweden, and several expatriates. Flamboyant lawyer Donald Kipkorir has also been his tenant.
The former Nairobi governor mostly trades through five companies — Gem Investments, Gem Apartments, Gem Suites, Orro Limited and Argenti Limited — but also personally owns hundreds of acres of land worth billions of shillings.
His land and buildings are estimated to be worth at least Sh9 billion, making him one of Kenya’s wealthiest.