Fate catches up with trickster billionaire Joseph Kiarie Mbugua who owns Jubilee Party HQ
people are familiar with the late Joseph Kiarie Mbugua, the Kiambu billionaire
whose fortunes seem to have started to nosedive– if they haven’t already. The Jubilee
Party building is owned by Mbugua’s family.
Mbugua of the 1970s to the 1990s was a man nobody wanted to cross his path,
according to Justice Msagha Mbogoli. He had coffee. He was wealthy.
And he was walked around with a gun.
was armed when I first met him as a young reporter.
go,” he said with an intimidating tone. We travelled to his coffee factory
in Kiambu on his Pajero.
to the story he told me, he had hoarded many tonnes of coffee worth millions of
shillings in the hope that the market would improve.
also made up a story about it being a demonstration against the Coffee Board of
Kenya, the epicenter of coffee problems.
later discovered, through records, that Mbugua had taken Sh75 million from a
Kenya Planters Coffee Union (KPCU) miller and was one of the tycoons who
refused to refund the bill.
such coffee, demands for payments and incessant land scandals, the gun came in
handy. Some peers nicknamed him Kiarie “Muici” which literary meant – Kiarie
spoke like a bully. He also ran a successful transport business, Karura Quick
Transport and had a tea estate in Kiambu. To his admirers, even in his Ndumberi
backyard, he was simply Kiarie wa Njoki.
one point, he took out a loan under the identity Kiarie Kamwana. It refers to
Kiarie, the young man. The test of his honesty and character was tremendous.
example, when he purchased the 172 acres from Mrs Beatrice Holyoak in 1977, the
two agreed that the Sh1.4 million transaction price would exclude 10 acres and
the farm home.
may have dubbed the new coffee farm Mawara Coffee Estate for a purpose. Mawara
translates as trickery, mischief, or dishonesty. Mawara Coffee Estate Limited
addressed a letter to Mrs Holyoak shortly after the sale was completed.
magnificent house with 10 acres surrounding it will be registered separately in
your name with new title papers, which I will arrange, ensuring that should you
ever decide to sell the property out of your family in the future, I will be
granted first refusal to acquire,” it said.
had the same lawyer, Lilian Mwaura, who prepared the sale agreement and the
conveyance dated July 17, 1977.
right of the vendor to occupy and enjoy the use of the dwelling house and
premises thereon” was one of the conditions agreed upon. Six months after
the sale agreement, Mrs Holyoak wrote to remind Mr Mbugua about the subdivision
Estates would like the above piece of property surveyed so that it can have its
10 acres as agreed before,” said the letter.
your permission Macwatt Estates is willing to bring its surveyor. We hope you
will co-operate in this matter in order to finish quickly.” That never
interestingly, never included the 10 acres in the transaction. Furthermore,
because Mr Mbugua now owned title to the entire site, transferring the 10 acres
would have required the Kiambu Land Board’s approval.
Mbugua looks to have performed a prank on Mrs Holyaok. After six years of
playing hide-and-seek, there was no way to enforce the contract.
plaintiff should have known that the defendant was out to breach the same when
Mbugua did not respond to the lawyer’s letter in January 1978,” ruled
judge questioned why Mrs. Holyoak’s firm, Macwatt Estate Limited, waited until
1992 to launch the action, calling it “far out of time.”
was perhaps not said was that Mrs Holyoak died in 1986, and Mrs Allison
Mathilde Janss took over the company. Mrs Janns, a director, chose to pursue
the property and the judge determined that she was truthful.
have watched Mrs. Jauss’s evidence. I have no doubt that she was truthful and honest. Mr
Mbugua, on the other hand, was sly and devious. Whatever the evaluation, this
is a case in which the plaintiff is a victim of the lawyers who managed the
transaction and the law on the other side,” stated Justice Mbogoli.
wasn’t much he could do. Mr Mbugua, on the other hand, had the law on his side,
and he walked away with 10 acres and a farm house without paying a dollar.