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MultiChoice Kenya’s Feud With City Tycoon Over Fraud Claims Lands 5 In Court

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Pay-TV service provider, MultiChoice Kenya, is embroiled in a bitter dispute with a contractor after it rejected an Sh895 million faulty office block it had hired a local firm to build.

Cementers Limited, the contractors, sued the TV firm arguing that MultiChoice was planning to sell the building located on Nairobi’s Oloitoktok Road even before the dispute is resolved.

Cementers Ltd is associated with rogue contractor Ramesh Kurji Vishram. Vishram is notorious for shoddy jobs and is fighting suits from disappointed clients.

Following his suit, four people including MultiChoice Kenya lawyer have now been charged with conspiracy to defraud Cementers Ltd by intentionally altering the structural Integrity investigation report on a proposed construction of an office block for the company.

Wilson Munyu Karaba, Stanley Kibathi, an architect and MultiChoice Kenya lawyer Lavender Lucky Waindi appeared before Milimani Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo and denied the charges. A fourth suspect, Eugene Kariuki Muchemi was not presented in court. They were allegedly under instructions to alter the report to be in favor of MultiChoice who stand to lose millions in the suit lodged against them.

They are accused that on diverse dates February 1 and April 30,2017 at unknown place being the directors of Interconsults Engineers ltd, Connapex Structural and Civil Engineering, SK Archplans and head of legal at MIH East Africa respectively, they jointly altered structural Integrity investigation report on proposed construction of office block for MultiChoice Kenya ltd.

The office block was to be constructed on plot Number L.R NO. 3734/421 and that they allegedly altered the report dated February, 2017 to favour structural Engineer against cementers’ ltd and to demand demurrages from Cementers’ ltd.

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Waindi is accused that on April 6, 2017 at an unknown place, she incited Muchemi to extract part of the structural Integrity investigation report that was to be presented to Cementers ltd.

The prosecution told the court that in February, 2017 at unknown place, Muchemi knowingly and fraudulently uttered a false structural integrity investigation report purporting it to be genuine structural Integrity investigation report.

He further faces another charge of making false reports. The court directed him to appear to present himself in court and plead to the charges.

The three accused persons were released on a bond Sh300, 000 or alternative cash bail of Sh100, 000.

Lawyer WWambua Kilonzo told the court that they will oppose participation of the victim (Cementers Ltd) in the case.

Cementers Limited was on March 18, 2015 awarded the Sh895 million contract to build the MultiChoice office block. The firm undertook to complete the work within 83 weeks or October 2016.

But in January 2016, some beams started sagging prompting the Conapex Consulting Engineers Limited and MultiChoice to commission independent experts to find out the cause of the sagging.

Conapex were the structural engineers overseeing the construction. Cementers Limited says after this defect was detected the structural engineer was replaced with Interconsult Limited, a firm that had been earlier engaged as an independent expert to audit the building after defects were detected.

Cementers Limited said MultiChoice declined to give it a signed copy of the report and instead shared an unsigned document.

The construction company claims that the report was doctored to show the sagging of the beams was caused by concrete. The report, Cementers says, was meant to absolve structural engineers from liability even as it became clear that the defect was structural for which structural engineers should have been held liable.

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Cementers Limited claims that by the time the construction was stopped it had done 70 percent of the work, translating to Sh626.5 million.

The company claims that due to negative reputation emanating from the project it had lost a contract for development of Habitat valued at Sh1.3 billion and a Sh3.5 billion contract of Five Star Paradise in Kiambu.


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