Kahumbu's Ksh228 Million Karen Home to be Auctioned

  • File image of award-winning conservationist Dr Paula Kahumbu.
    File image of award-winning conservationist Dr Paula Kahumbu.
  • Paula Kahumbu's hopes of keeping their Karen home crushed after the court ruled in favour of a bank seeking to auction the vast property.

    The award-winning conservationist's family has been in a 34 year back and forth court battle with the National Bank of Kenya, as the lender sought to recover a Ksh228 million loan owed to them by the family.

    Kahumbu and her brother Dominic have had to battle in court to save the home they inherited from their parents.

    NBK issued a loan to John Francis Kahumbu's company, Schemes Limited in 1984, and the house located in Mwitu Estate, Karen, was used as security for the loan, which has since grown annually due to interests accrued.

    A court Gavel.
    A court Gavel.

    The loan was issued to Kahumbu's father in form of a mortgage.

    High Court Judge David Majanja dismissed an application by Kahumbu and her brother stopping the auction which had been initially set for January 28, 2021. The auction is now set to happen on February 16, 2021.

    After the demise of John Francis Kahumbu, his wife Roseline Mary found herself embroiled in court battles with NBK in a bid to save the matrimonial home.

    In her first suit against the lender, she sought that the court order NBK to discharge the property as security arguing that the husband had failed to seek her consent before listing their home as collateral.

    The Kenyan Constitution stipulates that for a matrimonial home to be used as security for a loan, both spouses must consent the act. However, if one of the spouses contests the transaction, and successfully wins in court, then the lender will stand to lose the money.

    In 2017, Justice Fred Ochieng ruled in favour of Roseline, stating that the bank's rights could not come before her interests and that the mortgages were valid.

    He ruled that Mr Kahumbu did not get her consent prior to acquiring the loan with their matrimonial home as security.

    After Roseline's untimely demise in 2019, NBK renewed its quest to recover their money by auctioning the Karen home.

    On December 19, 2019, Paula and Dominic filed a suit against NBK, accusing them of subverting Justice Majanja's ruling in 2017.

    The Kahumbu's told the court that there was no decree sought after the 2017 ruling and therefore, NBK had no right to execute the auction. Justice Majanja has since ruled that the application to stop the auction on basis of a decree was premature.

    NBK on their part argued that they had afforded Paula and Dominic some time to restructure the debt and save their home but they failed to do so.

    As at 2001, the loan owed to NBK was Ksh182 million.

    File image of award-winning conservationist Dr Paula Kahumbu.
    File image of award-winning conservationist Dr Paula Kahumbu.