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Firm opposes state plan to auction Desai House

Firm opposes state plan to auction Desai House

After a business objected to the
government’s plan to declare the renowned Sh600 million Desai House in
Parklands, Nairobi, as a national monument, the battle over it has taken a new
turn.

According to Suchan Investments Limited,
which is claiming a 50% interest in the late freedom fighter JM Desai’s
property, the house should be auctioned, with the proceeds going to the
beneficiaries as the court has instructed.

The firm said in their plea, submitted
through lawyer AGN Kamau, that “the government is not a party to the issue
relating to the ownership of the property and cannot be allowed to enter late
in the day with an application to have Desai House re-gazetted as a national
monument.”

The Ministry of Sports, Culture, and the
Arts is allegedly abusing the court system to prolong the conflict between the
corporation and Dipa Pulling and Sandeep Rajni Desai, the late Desai’s
daughters, that has been escalating since 2008. The company requested that the
court deny the ministry’s request to prevent the historic pre-colonial home
from going up for auction and allow the public auction to proceed on July 12
instead.

After Desai moved to Kenya from India, he
built the Desai House, which is located on 1.7 acres in Parklands.

Desai left the property to his two
children, Dipa Pulling and Niranjan Jashbhai Desai, as well as his two
grandchildren, Sandeep Rajni Desai and Kevit Subash Desai, before passing away
in 1991. A quarter share was to be owned by each.

The ownership issue began after Niranjan
and Kevit sold their joint half share to Suchan Investments Limited in
2016.

Due to the parties’ inability to come to an
agreement, Justice Samson Okong’o decided in November 2019 that since Niranjan
and Kevit had sold their shares, the private developers also owned a portion
and that they all shared tenants-in-common ownership of the Desai House.

The property was to be sold at a public
auction with a Sh412 million reserve price, and the money were to be shared
among the beneficiaries, according to a court decision on April.

However, the government submitted yet
another application to stop the auction in May, claiming that Desai House is
now being gazetted as a national monument and has warned any potential buyers
against submitting bids. Mr. Paul Ogemba

The building known as Desai House and the
adjacent compound were gazetted as a national monument and remain a protected
property, the National Museums of Kenya informed the public and other
interested parties.

The company, however, requests that the
application be rejected, claiming that it is an attempt to prevent it from
enjoying its share of the property that it purchased from Desai’s children.

According to Kamau, the ministry of sports
and culture has no the legal authority to sue private individuals, and because
the auction judgment has never been reversed, they are wasting the court’s time
with a frivolous application.

“Their application to stop the public
auction is incompetent, illegal, and unsustainable.” “The issues they
are raising about the property being a national monument have been resolved and
cannot be reopened,” Kamau explained.

Keysian Auctioneers advertised the
property’s sale by public auction last week, asking interested bidders to
deposit Sh10 million.

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