At least 40 tenants have been forcibly evicted from Mombasa’s Hazina Plaza, a building owned by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
The 13-storey building, which is at the heart of Mombasa’s central business district, had been leased to M/S Techno Holdings which owes NSSF Sh70 million.
Auctioneers arrived with hired youths, broke doors before removing household equipment from the houses.
They also shut hotels, stalls and a supermarket, which are housed in the building, bringing business to a standstill.
Drama ensued when youths started removing items from the building as the tenants tried to block them.
A youth narrowly escaped a beating from members of the public after he was suspected to have stolen a TV set during the eviction.
Tenants whose items were being taken out of their houses protested over the manner in which the eviction was being conducted.
“This is not right. You cannot remove people by breaking into their houses. The order does not say that you break in. You are violating the law. Why don’t you allow us to move our items in a civilized manner,” said a tenant only identified as Christine.
Another tenant said they had paid rent for this month and that their landlord still has their deposit.
The tenants have been paying rent ranging from Sh13,000 to Sh25,000 monthly each.
Government officials are among people who occupy the building.
NSSF Communications Officer Christopher Khisa said they were removing the tenants following a court order.
“The tenant we know is Techno and he has arrears amounting millions of shillings which he has not paid for two years now. We leased the building to him and he got sub-tenants who are being removed. This building belongs to the public through NSSF,” said Dr Khisa.
He said failure by the tenant to pay rent meant that NSSF contributors could not get interest on their savings with the organisation.
NSSF bought the building in 1994 and later in 2010 leased it to M/S Techno Holdings Limited for a period of 10 years.
According to documents seen by the Nation, M/S Techno took over the building in 2014 and was to carry out renovations in two years as agreed with NSSF.
NSSF had granted the tenant a grace period of two years to compensate for the cost of renovations which were to be done by the tenant.
But the renovations were not done at that time after a suit was filed in court by two former tenants, M/S Serboga Limited and Soko Ngodo Limited, on account of controlled tenancy.
NSSF moved to court and filed a case against the tenants and won which saw them removed in 2014 and the building handed over to M/S Techno.
The company proceeded with the renovations for two years but failed to pay rent afterwards as agreed.
According to the auctioneer, Dickson Kariuki, the tenant (M/S Techno) could not pay the arrears as expected.
“We were actually to implement the court order on Friday last week because that’s when the 21 days’ notice expired. We are not here by chance but we are following court orders,” said Mr Kariuki.
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Publish date : 2019-03-18 11:08:23