Monday, December 17, 2018

In a bitter court battle, the sagging beams building case drags on as MultiChoice Kenya wants to get rid of (but can't) the defective Nairobi building from its fired concrete contractor that was supposed to be the pay-TV operator's new Kenya headquarters.

MultiChoice Kenya is locked in a bitter court battle as a "sagging beams building" case drags on with a local contractor, Cementers Limited in Nairobi, Kenya, over a defective office block that was built and supposed to become its new Kenya headquarters but that the Naspers-owned pay-TV operator now just wants to get rid of but can't.

The mega-project - a 4-storey, 8 000 square feet building - was supposed to become MultiChoice East Africa's new showpiece building (artist's impression pictured right), incorporating features like water recycling and various smart technology to conserve energy, as well having an underground parking area, and even a restaurant.

But that was before the massive structural building problems with the project emerged, with MultiChoice Kenya now just wanting to get rid of the constructed mess.

In an odd twist, Cementers Limited went to court and sued MultiChoice Kenya, trying to prevent MultiChoice Kenya from selling the defective building of R125.63 million (Sh895 million) that was erected in Oloitoktok Road in Lavington in Kenya's capital before the building dispute is resolved.

Kenya's judge James Makau granted the order preventing "MultiChoice Kenya or its agents from advertising or offering for sale the property".

MultiChoice Kenya has further been ordered to "preserve" the defective building in its current state, pending the outcome of the court case.

Meanwhile MultiChoice Kenya has petition the court to allow it to continue with the planned sale of the defective building where beams started sagging in January 2016, saying it's making a loss of R650 000 (Sh4.6 million) per month having to pay for security, insurance and trying to "maintain" the defective building project.

In August Cementers Limited got a court order allowing it to go into MultiChoice Kenya's head office for the project's structural engineer to find the documents it wants in its court case with MultiChoice Kenya.

Cementers Limited confiscated electronics and documents in 6 August, something that MultiChoice Kenya is challenging in court, saying the "blanket access" of Cementers Limited to its office carries the risk of exposing the confidential information of DStv and GOtv subscribers, like their personal details, including names, addresses, smart card information and addresses.

Eric Odipo, MultiChoice Kenya managing director, says Cementers Limited was dumped in June 2017 and MultiChoice's contract with the contractor terminated after the contractor was given notice.

Cementers Limited blames the structural engineers who worked on the building and is arguing that they should be held liable.

Cementers Limited also claims that a report from Interconsult Limited, commissioned by MultiChoice Kenya and Conapex Consulting Engineers Limited as an independent expert to audit the building after the defects were discovered, had been "doctored" to show that the problems in the building and the sagging beams have been caused by the concrete.