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Mike Maina: Billionaire Owner Of Marble Arch Hotel Who Communicates Through Written Notes Passed On By Messengers

The very few Kenyans who form the club of billionaires are not known to publicly flaunt their wealth but prefer a rather low-key lifestyle. Mike Maina is one such super wealthy individual who only burst in the public limelight in 2019 when his company-Muthithi Investment Limited-obtained court orders to demolish houses in Kayole where he was claiming over 20 acres of land.

According to an article published on the Standard titled ‘Eight reclusive Kenyan billionaires you might not know about’, Mwangi communicates through written notes passed on by messengers and never grants the media interviews. 

Here is the story of this reclusive billionaire as told by WoK.

About Marble Arch Hotel

The iconic Marble Arch Hotel, situated in the heart of Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD) along Lagos road off the famous Tom Mboya street, is owned by Mike Maina. The hotel is just a stone throw away from Nairobi fire station headquarters.

Established in 1995, Marble Arch is a three-star hotel offering affordable accommodation, conference facilities for meetings and a wide array of delicacies right in the city center.

Since its inception, the hotel has been visited by over 1.4 million guests, made 25,632 reservations, accommodated 158,024 people and served over 4.6 million different meals and cuisines.

The hotel’s unique architectural design, classic interior design and stimulating ambiance are what attracts a large clientele drawn from the middle and working class Kenyans aside from tourists who visit the country.

It has spacious and fully furnished rooms equipped with modern amenities to give the client a quiet, comfortable and relaxing stay which is quite uncommon with many city hotels. It also has tight security and ample parking so you won’t have to worry about anything while enjoying your stay at the hotel.

Spending a night at the hotel will cost you anywhere from Ksh 5,200 to Ksh 10,500 depending on the package you choose. You can also get a fully furnished and serviced apartment for Ksh 180,000 per month.

The apartment comes with a satellite TV, King sized bed, separate spacious lounge, kitchen accessories and a working desk among many other things.

Controversies surrounding Billionaire Mike Maina

Despite his achievements with the Marble Arch hotel, Mr. Mike Maina is a man surrounded with controversies and court battles left, right and center. Here are some of the allegations, controversies and court battles that he is or has been involved in;

Demolition of his Multi-million home

In 2010, the then Minister for Roads and infrastructure Franklin Bett issued a go ahead for the government to demolish Maina’s eight-bedroom home situated in Spring Valley, Nairobi.

He was expected a tantrum but the billionaire remained tight lipped and decided to send his lawyer John Mburu to issue a press statement before suing the state.

The house was demolished to pave way for the construction of the Waiyaki Way – Redhill link road. Mr Mike Maina had built the home in 2007 and at the time of the demolition, he had not yet moved into the house but the construction was in its final touches.

Mr. Maina through his lawyer told the court that he legally owned the property with a title deed issued to him by the government department of lands. He further revealed that he had spent up to Ksh 299 million to build the bungalow.

However, the state, in its counter-argument said that the billionaire had acquired the land unlawfully through fraud, misrepresentation and mistake. It revealed that the land was part of a road that had been acquired by the government in the early 1970s in order to build the 4.4 kilometers link road.

At the end of the court battle in April 2020, the billionaire won the case and was consequently awarded Ksh 859 million. The compensation was broken as Ksh 847,277,351 for the demolished property and Ksh 12,259,342 as the cost of the case.

Kayole Land and Demolitions

Mr. Maina has been in and out of court trying to repossess the Nyamavilla land in Kayole. It is alleged that in 1988 the billionaire was scammed Ksh 17.4 million at View Park Towers along Uhuru Highway, Nairobi.

This is after Mr. Gabriel Njoroge Mbuthia, who posed as the son of Cabinet Minister JJ Kamotho, sold him plot No LR 23917 in Kayole which actually belonged to the City Council.

Mr Maina, through his lawyers, told the court that he discovered that Mr. Mbuthia was not the owner of the plot a few months later.

He had pocketed the money and escaped to Uganda. He won the case and Mr. Mbuthia was arrested and jailed for two and a half years. The billionaire then started another purchase process of the same land through his companies Gamex Shelter Hunters Limited and Muthithi Investments.

But just before the deal could be completed, the Nairobi City Council filed a suit at the High Court of Kenya against the Commissioner of Lands, Muthithi Investments and Gamex Shelter Hunters Limited arguing that the land belonged to the public.

The case later took an unexpected about-turn and a consent order was registered on February 8th 2000 between all three parties which agreed that Muthithi Investment was the owner of the property.

The consent order was followed by a court order on July 8th of the same year whereby Muthithi Investment was declared the legal owner of the land.

With that, Mr. Maina through his company Muthithi Investment got an order to have the occupants removed by force and consequently stormed the 20-acre piece of land with bulldozers in 2019 bringing everything down and rendering the area residents homeless.

Marble Arch Hotel and Karura Forest Land saga

According to a parliamentary record, it is alleged that the Marble Arch hotel grabbed a public toilet space in order to build a parking bay next to the parking lot that was once owned by the Kenya Taxi Cabs Association.

Mr. Maina was reportedly involved in the attempt to grab Karura Forest land, where he was to build a mall on behalf of the late President Daniel arap Moi as reported by Nation media.

By then, he was the proprietor of Pelican Engineering Construction Company and was to acquire the 45.5 acres piece of land through his company Kitisuru Limited.

The process was halted and everything stopped after Kenyan environmentalists led by Nobel Prize Winner the late Prof. Wangari Maathai staged protests against the demolition of the forest.