By Isaac Blessings
The famous Tatu City is a Ksh 240 billion investment project that sits on a 5,000 acre piece of land in Ruiru in the outskirts of Nairobi. The city is a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) that is a mix of residential houses, a shopping district, entertainment complex and the largest Industrial Park in East Africa.
In this article, WoK brings you the story of businessman Stephen Mbugua Mwagiru who, together with his family, owned the land where Tatu City sits and were the pioneer partners of the multi-billion project before it changed hands.
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The Mwagiru’s family
The Mwagiru’s family led by businessman Stephen Mbugua Mwagiru, his sister Josephine Mwagiru and his mother Rosemary Wanja owned the Tatu City land through their company Waguthu Holdings (K) Limited. They sold the land to the investors of the city who assembled behind the Company Rendeavour Group. The Mwagirus ceased to be the directors of Waguthu Holdings (now Tatu City Limited) from March 4th 2009 and transferred all their shares, except one, to Cedar IV Limited. Mr. Mwagiru and his mother are minority shareholders in Tatu City and Kofinaf Limited, the two companies that currently own the Tatu city land.
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The Mwagirus Family and Tatu City Court battles
The Mwagirus family through their lawyer Robert Githu have been involved in an endless court battle with the Tatu City limited investors. The family first took to court accusing their foreign partners of colluding with Ministry of Lands officials to fraudulently remove a caveat that had been placed on the land in order to sell part of it. The Mwagirus had placed caveats on nine Tatu City land title deeds on June 10th 2010 forbidding any dealings in the properties to safeguard their interest.
The caveats were however removed by the Chief Land registrar on May 25th 2012 and the land handed over to Tatu City Limited. In 2013, the High Court had declined the application by the Magwirus to ask the majority shareholders to buy out the minority shareholders. The court ruled that an independent valuation of the property be conducted in order to determine the true value of each share. Upon completion of the process, Mr Mwagiru and Rosemary Wanja would be paid for the direct one share they each own in Tatu City and Kofinaf limited as part of the exit plan. The Mwagirus had put their shareholding at 14.5 percent and 15.8 per cent of Tatu City and Kofinaf respectively, claims that were disputed by the majority shareholder.
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Stephen Mbugua Mwagiru Controversies
Mr Mwagiru is not new to controversy. He was expelled from the Muthaiga Country Club by the management for urinating in public and assaulting a worker. According to court documents as reported by the Nairobian, on 26th April 2012, Mwagiru visited Pink restaurant at 12.00 am and ordered food, when he was informed that it had closed he hurled obscenities at an employee. The employee further stated that Mwagiru urinated in the restaurant’s corridor claiming that the toilets were too far.
He then moved to the members bar and ordered that his bills be transferred there. When he was asked to verify his bills he refused he resorted to intimidating the staff and proceeded to break a kitchen window. The Muthaiga country club met on 31st October 2012 and resolved to expel him from using the club and invited him to resign from the club’s membership.
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Mwagiru later unsuccessfully went to court to challenge the committee’s decision claiming that the management he wasn’t given a fair hearing and that the management had met without informing him. In an affidavit, he stated that he had been a member of Muthaiga Club following admission in 2004 and paying an entrance fee of Ksh 90,825. He however lost the court case and has since then been prohibited from getting into Muthaiga country club.
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