What you need to know:
- The prime land is now at the center of a vicious legal battle pitting the United States International University-Africa (USIU-A) against businessman George Kiongera and late President Moi.
- Dr. Mwangi, through Muthaiga Luxury Homes Ltd, has sued USIU-A, Mr. Moi, Mr. Kiongera's Maestro Connections Health Systems Limited, the Chief Lands Registrar, the Director of Survey and the Attorney General.
Equity Bank Chief Executive officer James Mwangi has told the High Court that he bought the 20-acre piece of land from the late President Daniel arap Moi for Sh300 million in February 2012.
Testifying before Justice David Mugo Mwangi of the Environment and Land Court (ELC) division, Dr Mwangi said he had two meetings with the late president over the land.
"I visited the late president twice and we discussed the purchase of the land. He was happy that I had completed payment of the purchase price on time," Dr Mwangi told the magistrate on Wednesday.
Led in his evidence by lawyer William Githara, the bank boss told the court that "the late president expressed gratitude that I completed payment for the land on time as he used the money to settle some family matters.
He said the late president even told him during their discussions that he even knew there was another piece of land to his (Moi's) and "that I was going to do a big project".
The witness said the former leader told him that he knew that he (Dr Mwangi) was friends with his son Gideon, the immediate former senator for Baringo.
"We talked with the late Moi for an hour and a half. We touched on a range of issues from family matters to the funding of the Kabarak University Insurance Program."
Dr. Mwangi said when he agreed to buy the land, their family lawyer, Ms. Mary Kiarie, started preparing documents and payments.
"During your visits to Mr. Moi, did he ever say that he never received the money you paid for the land?" Mr. Githara asked Dr. Mwangi.
"No, he never told me that he had not received the money. Instead, he thanked me for making the payment on time and told me that the money helped him settle some family obligations," Dr. Mwangi recalled.
He told the judge that the property was bought by the family company Muthaiga Luxury Homes Limited and that "all payments to Mr. Moi were channeled through the family lawyer Ms. Mary Kiarie".
He said he paid the total amount of Sh300 million and a stamp duty of Sh12 million to the Lands ministry.
He added, however, that he "does not know when the the transaction was completed".
Dr. Mwangi said he believed the transaction was genuine between him and the late Moi and that he was "entitled to own it".
The bank boss said he is aware that Maestro Connections Health Systems Limited also claims to have bought the same piece of land.
He added that he is also aware that Maestro borrowed Sh158,250,000 from Equity Bank Limited (EBL) and that the bank's managing director Warui and Mary Wamae signed for the loan on behalf of the bank.
Dr. Mwangi said he never borrowed money from the bank to buy the property which is also being claimed by United States International University (USIU).
The bank boss, who explained that he is not involved in the day-to-day management and operations of EBL, denied that he was involved in the discussions that approved the loan to Maestro.
He even added that he only reports to Equity Group shareholders on its investments and new business ventures.
"As group CEO, I am not involved in the day-to-day operations of the bank but I monitor the performance of the investments," Dr. Mwangi said in response to a question from his lawyer, Mr. Githara.
The bank chief told the judge that when the ownership dispute arose, he tried in vain to reach the late president and that Gideon Moi refused to discuss the Muthaiga land issue with him.
"Mr. Moi was mostly at his Kabarak home during his last days and I could not reach him to discuss the matter," Dr. Mwangi testified.
He said it was during this period that Moi's property manager approached him (Mwangi) and agreed to sell him the same property.
"I told the property manager that I had been sold the property by Mr. Moi himself and then I referred him to my lawyer (Mary Kiarie)," Dr. Mwangi recounted.
In his testimony, he gave a graphic account of how he visited Mr. Moi and that at one point "he was given a golden pen and ink".
Asked by his lawyer what he wanted from the court, he said he wanted the truth because his dealings with the late president were honest and genuine.
"Why are you in court and what do you want this court to do," Mr. Githara asked Dr. Mwangi.
In response, he said: "I urge this court to find that the transaction between me and Moi was genuine, that I am the legal and genuine owner of the property. I urge this court to find my evidence credible. That is all."
The prime land is now at the center of a vicious legal battle pitting the United States International University-Africa (USIU-A) against businessman George Kiongera and late President Moi.
In the case, Dr. Mwangi, through Muthaiga Luxury Homes Ltd, has sued USIU-A, Mr. Moi, Mr. Kiongera's Maestro Connections Health Systems Limited, the Chief Lands Registrar, the Director of Survey and the Attorney General.
Mr. Kiongera and USIU-A also claim to have bought the land from Mr. Moi for Sh500 million.
Dr. Mwangi says he only learnt from press reports that Mr. Kiongera and USIU-A had both laid claim to the piece of land for which he paid Sh300 million in 2012.
Court papers show that Mr. Moi was represented in the transaction by businessman Andrew Sunkuli.
Dr. Mwangi says he bought the property through his company, Muthaiga Luxury Homes.
He attached the sale agreement and transfer documents with Mr. Moi's signature because "prior to the purchase, Muthaiga Luxury Homes conducted an official search of the property at the Central Land Registry and established that the same belonged to Mr. Moi and was unencumbered and therefore available for sale," Dr. Mwangi said in court papers.