Desterio Oyatsi: Meet President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Lawyer With Ksh200M Stake In NCBA

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Desterio Oyatsi: President Uhuru Kenyatta's Lawyer With Ksh200M Stake In NCBA
President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and his lawyer Desterio Oyatsi. |Photo| Courtesy|

Deysterio Oyatsi is an accomplished legal practitioner, an Advocate of the High Court in Kenya and Managing Partner of Shapley, Barret & Company Advocates, a leading law firm in the country.

Oyatsi is also President Uhuru Kenyatta’s lawyer and also the extended Kenyatta family. He sits on the boards of several companies in Kenya. He has held various positions in some of the leading companies in Kenya and has stakes in some of them.

He holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Oxford and a Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law.

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His main practice is Commercial Law. He showcases his expertise in dispute resolution by advising on the full suite of complex, high-profile litigation matters. He provides counsel to clients from the firm’s Nairobi office.

In this article, WoK takes a look at the accomplished lawyer’s work experience, investment portfolio as well as scandals he has been linked with.

Desterio Oyatsi: President Uhuru Kenyatta's Lawyer With Ksh200M Stake In NCBA
File image of lawyer Desterio Oyatsi. |Photo| Courtesy|

Career

According to reports, Oyatsi is a Deputy Chairman at NCBA Group Plc and owns a 0.65 per cent stake in the financial services group. His stake is estimated to be worth about $2,473,286 (approximately Ksh270 million) according to a report by Billionaires Africa.

According to the Bae Titanium company website, Oyatsi is the chairman of the board of directors.

Base Titanium is the local Kenyan subsidiary of the Base Resources group, an Australian-based, African-focused, mineral sands producer and developer with a track record of project delivery and operational performance.

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Located in Kwale County, 50km south of Mombasa, Base Titanium operates Kenya’s largest mine, which was officially awarded flagship project status under Kenya’s Vision 2030 national development blueprint.

Oyatsi was appointed as a non-executive Director of the Kenol Kobil board on August 10, 2007.

He is also the Chairman of the board of directors at Metropolitan Life Insurance Kenya Ltd. The company offers life (long term) insurance solutions to retail and corporate clients.

Oyatsi is a former Commissioner of the Kenya Law Reform Commission.

The lawyer was previously employed as a Non-Executive Director by Capital Market Authority (CMA) between 1999 and 2002.

He was appointed for the first time to the CMA board through a Gazete notice in July 1999, replacing one of the authority’s longest serving Members, Mr. George Ayino who had passed away on April 20, 1999 after a long period of illness.

The accomplished lawyer has also served as a Non-Executive Director by Telkom Kenya Ltd between 1999 and 2003.

Desterio Oyatsi: President Uhuru Kenyatta's Lawyer With Ksh200M Stake In NCBA
File image of lawyer Desterio Oyatsi. |Photo| Courtesy|

Scandal

In 2017, Florence Soila Ngossor, a land dealer in kajiado moved to court, claiming that the lawyer had transferred her 18 acre piece of land valued at Ksh500 million to Jeffery Robin Mein who later sold it to Kiriinya Mukiira, former PS in the Ministry of Lands and Public Works.

According to court papers as reported by the Standard, Florence claimed that Oyatsi used his position as managing Partner at Shapley Barret and Company Advocates to transfer the land to Robin, who later sold it.

She claimed that the parcel was part of the 107 acres she had bought together with her ex- husband Michael Chege in the Kisaju area. She further claimed that the land had been subdivided and sold to various powerful individuals.

“Sometimes in the month of April 2013, I got information that first, third and seventh defendants were fighting over the ownership of my aforementioned land. I immediately checked with my lawyers Messrs Shapley Barret Company Advocates and was informed that my original tittle deed could not be traced from their office and that the said advocates have admitted receipt and loss of the said title by way of statement to the police,” Florence said in court papers.

She accused Robin of forging signatures and Oyatsi of aiding the transfer of her land to Robin who later sold it to Mukiiri.

Oyatsi dismissed the allegations by Florence, noting that the forged documents she refers to did not bear his signature and therefore not certified.

He told the court in a counter suit that the plaintiff deliberately failed to admit that some of the land transfer documents prepared by the law firm, bore his signature and stamp as a witness.

“The said allegation which forms the foundation of the plaintiff’s claims that the transaction pleaded by the plaintiff was the only transaction where the six defendant certified or verified the plaintiff’s signature is deliberate, falsehood, fabricated by the plaintiff to sustain the present fictitious claim against the six plaintiff,” Oyatsi argued.

He further argued that the disputed transfer document is incomplete since it did not indicate anywhere that it was drawn by Shapley Barret and Company Advocates.

“The six defendant further states that the allegations and, or claims made against the sixth defendant in the plaint are falsehoods and the verifying affidavit sworn by the plaintiff confirming on oath that the said allegations as true is perjury which is a serious criminal offence against the administration of justice,” he said in a suit against Florence.

Mukiira maintained that he legally bought the land from Jeffery Robin.

“She sold the land, and that is the true position. I did due diligence before I bought it in 1998. Some people tried to sell it but I moved first and stopped the transaction. Where was she all those years only to surface recently and start claiming ownership? They thought the mzungu had not sold it,” explained Mukiira.

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