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Petition To Stop The National Bank Of Kenya From Frustrating Customers Requiring Debtors To Pay Upto 50 Times The Principal Borrowed

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Wilfred Musau, CEO National Bank of Kenya

Gutted with Systems’s operations, Humphrey Muchiri an ordinary Kenyan has kicked off a petition to force reforms in the banking system, “Banks have been FRUSTRATING and STEALING from Kenyans by requiring debtors to pay up to 50 TIMES the principal borrowed against the law.” He writes.

This is in spite of Amendment No. 9 of 2006 of the Banking Act, which ushered in the application of the in duplum rule. This rule simply provides that banks only recover contractual interest that does not exceed the principal amount owing. At Section 44, the act clearly indicates that the amendment is retrospective, meaning that it is applicable to all loans including those that were issued before the change. Parliament’s resolve to afford inviolable protection to ALL debtors is evident in myriad Hansard records.

Eleven years on, however, the impunity that parliament sought to arrest persists. The expectation was that banks would align their practices accordingly, and that any discrepancies in applying the law would be cured in Court. But this has not been the case.

Indeed, judges have taken care to calculate interest and enable consumers to redeem their properties. It is perplexing that the same banks whose unconscionable interests are nullified in court just proceed to do the same thing to the next consumers, and the vicious cycle of blatant theft and abuse continues. National Bank of Kenya and its debt recovery employees are the most notorious culprits here according to the petition.

The violence of this illegal, usurious practice is horrifying. Many Kenyans have lost and continue to lose their properties and millions of shillings because of this kind of impunity.

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And since most of the debtors who are affected by this illegal practice are now old, many have gone into shock or simply died. The amendment sought to shore up the right to redeem one’s property and prevent banks from bankrupting Kenyans just because they at one time needed and took loans.

Imagine being thrown out of property worth millions or even tens of millions just because of a Sh200, 000 loan that has miraculously shot up to Sh20 million. Imagine facing unscrupulous bankers bent on defeating consumers’ protection under Section 44 and even going so far as skipping the need to issue redemption notices according to the Land Act. The distress and losses caused by this evil are unfathomable.

“Urgent actions are needed to end this evil usurious culture at NBK and other banks ONCE AND FOR ALL. Banks and their officials MUST understand that rights accrue to ALL Kenyans, not just the few who manage to go to court.” Says the petition.

The precise requests of the petition to the relevant bodies and persons include:

  1. the cancellation of all private treaties that customers have been induced into signing under duress and fraudulently thereby burdening them with hefty loans.
  2. the cancellation of all redemption notices that mention ridiculous amounts whose only purpose is to defeat borrowers’ right of redemption and strip them of their valuable property
  3. the stoppage of all attempts to exercise the statutory power of sale until all consumers are notified of the correct outstanding amounts
  4. that all bankers who have slapped consumers with unconscionable interests and failed to give them legitimate notices that uphold their right of redemption be held liable for their actions
  5. that banks be forced to reimburse all Kenyans who have been prejudiced so far
  6. that banks be forced to calculate interest in the letter and spirit of Section 44
  7. that banks and auctioneers be forced to adhere to the Land Act, which governs the issue of redemption notices
  8. that banks, their officials, and auctioneers be investigated with a view to punishing any malpractice and reimbursing all victims.
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The expectation is that the petition will go a long way into transforming bank practices as well as safeguarding lives and property.

Have you been a victim of this scheme or have a story on any bank that you’d like to share and be published? Write to me on ([email protected])


Kenya Insights allows guest blogging, if you want to be published on Kenya’s most authoritative and accurate blog, have an expose, news, story angles, human interest stories, drop us an email on [email protected] or via Telegram

Kenya West is a trained investigative independent journalist and a socio-political commentator on matters Kenya and Africa. Send me tips to [[email protected]]

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Safaricom To Start Paying Handsomely Those Who Can Successfully Hack Into Their System

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The target groups are university and college students, innovation centres like iHub and iLab, cyber security forums such as Africa Hackon, ISACA and Hackathons.

Through a partnership with HackerOne, a cyber-security company, hackers can submit bugs they may find in a confidential and responsible manner which will then be vetted and triaged by the HackerOne team independently.

“The reason for starting this program was to encourage hackers to report any bugs/vulnerabilities that they may find in Safaricom’s products and services to Safaricom in a confidential and ethical manner instead of exploiting them or disclosing them to the public,” said Thibaud Rerolle, Safaricom’s Technology Director.

According to the firm if the issue is found to be valid, HackerOne will then forward it to Safaricom for confirmation before awarding the hacker for their effort.

Mr Rerolle said the award can range between Sh25,000 ($250) and Sh200,000 ($2,000) depending on the severity of the bug.

“The HackerOne platform is used by many Fortune 500 companies – the likes of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple and even the US Department of Defence,” said Mr Rerolle.

As of July 2018, HackerOne’s network consisted of approximately 200,000 security researchers and had resolved over 72,000 vulnerabilities across over 1,000 customer programs and had paid over Sh3.1 billion ($31 million) in bounty rewards.

A report released by Serianu an IT services consultancy firm, showed that Kenya lost Sh21.1 billion to cybercrime in 2017, a 40 per cent increase from Sh15.1 billion in 2015.

This is a clear indication that hacking is becoming more widespread in the country and the amount of money lost to hacking is increasing rapidly.

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Safaricom also wants to discover more bugs/vulnerabilities by taking advantage of crowd sourcing whereby the telco can leverage on the knowledge and skills of many ethical hackers locally and even globally instead of just relying on their own expertise.

Bug county programs are also generally more cost effective than hiring security consultants to do penetration testing.

This is because for bug bounty programs, you only pay for bug or vulnerabilities found unlike hiring security consultants who are paid based on man hours regardless of whether they find any bugs or vulnerabilities.

Serianu report stated that over 90 per cent of African companies are operating below what is called the “cyber security poverty line”, which is a big concern.

This means that most companies in Africa do not have the basic security measures to deal with cyber security threats and this puts them and their customers at great risk of losing money or even their reputation as a company.

A good example is what happened to Facebook with Cambridge Analytica data breach that cost Facebook more than $100 billion (Sh10 billion) drop in their share price and eventually forced the CEO of Facebook to be summoned by the United States Congress and apologise to the public.

Sector players say the enactment of the Computer and Cyber Crime Bill 2017 was a big step for Kenya in cyber security as crime was not well defined and as a result, it was very difficult to convict anyone of a cybercrime.

They said the proposed Data Protection Bill 2018 is also another big step towards the right direction and is in line with global data privacy laws such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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“However, a lot more still needs to be done by the government and other institutions to reach the same maturity level in cyber security laws as other more developed countries,” said Mr Rerolle.

“In 2017, the US passed over 240 cyber security related bills in various States so this goes to show you we still have a long way to go in Kenya and Africa in general,” added Mr Rerolle.

Source


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Cytonn Investments Raises The Bar In Kenya’s Real Estate Industry With Multi Billion Projects And Steady Growth

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Cytonn CEO Edwin Dande

Real estate remains a preferred investment venture in Kenya and one needs excellent knowledge of the market and that’s why investment firms are working around the clock to satisfy and give clients a top class treat.

Cytonn Investment, a young entrant into the industry is such that is cutting out a nitch with its rapid and steady growth commanding a firm grip in the wide pitch.

Investment firm Cytonn earlier this year  announced three fold growth in net profit to Sh398 million for the year ending December 31, 2017.

The 276.7 per cent rise in profit was up from 105.7 million recorded within the same period in 2016.

Cytonn attributed the sharp rise to a strong revenue growth arising from construction projects and the realization of gains from investment in the stock market.

The firms group revenue doubled to Sh1.01billion from Sh543.94 million announced in 2016, while that of the company went up to Sh193.4 million from Sh119.86 million.

The growth in total assets was driven by strong growth in the real estate projects under mandate, with Investment Property growing to Sh10.8 billion in 2017 from Sh8.9billion in 2016.

Investments in financial services through quoted Private Equity Investments delivered Sh342.1 million to the firm in revenue in 2017.

Cytonn prides of some outstanding Real Estate projects in the country that is making it a preferred investment firm in the new economy times. Some of the mega projects are as below:

1.Cytonn Towers

Cytonn Towers is a proposed iconic Mixed-Use Development on a 4-acre parcel in Kilimani, at the junction of Argwings Kodhek and Elgeyo-Marakwet Road, 10 minutes from Nairobi CBD. The development will be built to embody world class standards in destination real estate and is expected to be Nairobi’s premier Business, Retail and entertainment, Hospitality and Residential address when complete.

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2.RiverRun Estates

RiverRun Estates is a master-planned development to be undertaken on a 100-acre parcel located in Ruiru, Kiambu County approximately 7 Km from the Thika Superhighway and 1.5 km off Kiambu-Kamiti Road and falls within the precincts of both Tatu City and Migaa Golf Course.

The development has lots of green spaces, outdoor play areas and recreational facilities including swimming pools, a water park, access to a dam with a water frontage of 800m and clubhouse facilities. The residential units are in clusters to enhance community living and security within the units.

3.The Ridge

The Ridge is a comprehensive and luxurious mixed-use development located in Ridgeways, Nairobi approximately 10 km from the CBD, 300m from the junction of Kiambu Rd and the Northern Bypass, 5 minutes’ drive from the Two Rivers Mall, the biggest shopping mall in East Africa, less than 5 minutes’ to Windsor Golf Club and 10 minutes’ from UNEP headquarters in Gigiri.

Taraji Heights

4.Taraji Heights

Taraji Heights is a comprehensive mixed-use development where style, nature, community living and convenience meet. Nestled in the scenic and serene environment of Ruaka, Taraji Heights is only 30 minutes from the Nairobi CBD, 5 minutes from the Northern Bypass and 10 minutes from UNEP headquarters in Gigiri. The development comprises 2, 3 and 3 bedroom apartments with a DSQ, a retail facility, a private clubhouse with a swimming pool, gym and spa and well-manicured gardens.

5.The Alma

The Alma is a comprehensive residential development with modern 1bd, 2bd, and 3bd apartments & impeccable finishing. The project is strategically positioned in the heart of the fast-growing Ruaka neighborhood. It is only a 20minutes drive from the CBD and 40 minutes drive during rush-hour. The adjacent suburbs Runda, Rosslyn and Muthaiga also make the location quite secure and attractive for investors.

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6.Amara Ridge

Amara Ridge, an exclusive private gated community in Karen, is close to everything in Karen yet tucked away from it all. Conveniently located with easy access to Lang’ata Road and Ngong’ Road, residents have an array of amenities to enjoy and events to keep their calendars buzzing with activity all year round.

7.Newtown

Newtown is an exceptional master planned development within the greater Nairobi Metropolis that once complete, will comprise of residential, commercial, educational, logistics, recreational & hospitality precincts. Newtown sits on approximately 1000 acres located in Athi River, Machakos County, approximately 10 km off Mombasa Road along Mutongoni Road. The development aims to provide a world-class city that will create a Live, Work & Play environment while creating traction for the area.

Cytonn has also received the go-ahead from the competition watchdog to buy Nairobi’s luxury hotel-cum-furnished apartments vendor Wasini Resorts.

In last Kenya Gazette notice, the Competition Authority of Kenya said it had approved the sale, which will see Cytonn acquire 100 per cent shareholding in Wasini Resorts.

The Cytonn executive said there was a big opportunity for serviced apartments across Kenya to serve growing demand by short to mid-stay travellers visiting Kenya and the region.

Due to lack of a single furnished apartments’ operator especially within Nairobi’s Westlands, Kilimani and Upper Hill Cytonn has seen a huge investment opportunity.

Cytonn is undertaking a serviced-apartment development of its own in Westlands to complement similar homes in Ridgeways. More furnished apartments are also under development at the 35-floor Cytonn Towers in Kilimani.

The firm, through its real estate arm Cytonn Real Estate, has 10 ongoing residential and commercial projects reportedly valued at Sh82 billion. It is also the 5th largest shareholder in regional lender, NIC Bank.

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Sylvia Mulinge Back To Safaricom After Being Rejected In Tanzania For The Vodacom Job

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Sylvia Mulinge at a Safaricom event.

Mulinge has worked at Safaricom for quite a while leading to her departure from the company, while she was the Director of Consumer Business Unit, a few months ago. Ms Mulinge left to head Tanzania’s Vodacom as the Managing Director.

Things, however, did not go as planned as she was denied a work permit on the basis that there are Tanzanians who could do the job as well. Vodacom went ahead and appointed Hisham Hendi as acting MD as Sylvia Mulinge sorted out her work permit issues.

The wait is over but not with Ms Mulinge heading the Tanzanian telco but with her homecoming appointment at Safaricom. In a memo to staff members, Safaricom’s CEO announced the appointment of Sylvia Mulinge as Director of Special Projects as of 1st October 2018.

“In this role, she will report directly to me and will be responsible for spearheading our commercial revival and help us deliver our strategy and transform Safaricom into a business that is fit for the future,” said Mr Bob Collymore.

Sylvia’s new role will see her work to restore Safaricom’s wearing-out customer trust and loyalty. Bob’s memo says that Ms Mulinge will be working with the commercial teams. This follows recent changes in Safaricom’s products as a measure to appeal to customers.

Mulinge’s comeback to Safaricom is a win for the company that could not afford to lose her. Sylvia has been paramount to the transformation of Safaricom to what it is today through customer segmentation (Blaze and Platinum) and development of new products such as Songa that has seen the company move from being a traditional telco to what they call a social network with their motto being, “Twaweza”.

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Courtesy Techweez


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