Athlete on the verge of losing prime building after guaranteeing Sh80m loan

Sammy Kipketer

The two-storey building in Eldoret town. Inset, Sammy Kipketer.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

A former Kenyan international long-distance runner has suffered a blow after an Eldoret court ordered him and his wife to stop collecting rent from his two-storey building in the town’s central business district.

Justice Eric ogola issued the order to Sammy Kipketer in relation to the Kibargoi building, which the athlete, who specialised in cross-country and 5,000 metres, and his wife Beatrice Kipketer lay claim to.

Mr Kipketer gave out the title deed for the building on Utalii Street to a local bank as a guarantee for an Sh80 million loan to Prayosha Ventures.

The matter landed in court five years ago after Prayosha Ventures defaulted on the loan, which has since ballooned to millions of shillings more.

The couple had jointly sought court redress in their bid to reclaim the office block.

Beatrice Kipketer claims her husband guaranteed the loan without her consent although the building was a matrimonial asset.

She also disowned a signature and a national ID card attached to the loan agreement documents that purportedly linked her to the sale deal.

She argued that as a wife, she has an equitable interest in the property and control of the matrimonial home gives her an overriding interest compared with that of the bank.

She told the court that she contributed to buying the land and putting up the building. She also said she oversaw its development while her husband was away at an athletics training camp.

Shocked the couple

In a ruling that shocked the couple, Justice Ogola granted the couple 14 days to fully comply with the new court orders by providing, among others, a comprehensive list of the tenants in the building and the specific rooms or shops each occupies.

They were also ordered to tell the court how much rent each tenant pays monthly.

In a consent signed by the parties in the matter, which Justice Ogola approved, the couple must provide a full statement of outstanding rent arrears starting from November 1, 2021.

Resume collection

"I direct that Allan and Brandley Company Limited do resume collection of all rent from the premises as per the orders of this court issued on February 1, 2022 and thereafter give an account to this court on whatever is required to do so," ruled Justice Ogola.

The judge warned the couple that they would be cited for contempt if they failed to obey the orders.

The case will be mentioned on November 15 to confirm whether the couple complied with the orders and for an update on rent collection.

Beatrice Kipketer tried last year to stop the bank from auctioning the property, but Justice Hellen Omondi dismissed her request, stating that there was no proof that she was married to the athlete.

Justice Omondi, now a Court of Appeal judge, temporarily stopped the auction following a new application from the woman.

That prompted the bank to oppose the case, saying the new request was a ploy to further delay resolving the dispute.

"It is our submission that the instant application can only be construed as a deliberate action to further delay the progression of the case to a full hearing and ultimate hearing and determination of the matter," the bank said in its response.

Beatrice Kipketer then went back to court after Joyland Auctioneers advertised the building for the second time in April.

She maintained that she never consented to the charging of the property. She added that she and the couple’s children will suffer if the building in the key North Rift town was sold, as the family solely depended on the rental income from the property.

Spousal consent

Her husband supported her, saying he did not know spousal consent was required. He said that though he had bought the land jointly with his wife, it was registered in his name.

He also supported claims that the signature on the charge document was not his wife’s.

The bank said that after the borrower failed to service the loan, it issued a statutory notice for payments within three months. The lender hired the auctioneer after the 45-day notice elapsed, as required by the law.

Dismissing the case last year, Justice Omondi argued that Sammy Kipketer voluntarily offered the building as collateral for the loan.