HomeNewsFormer CS Raphael Tuju to lose posh Dari Restaurant and 20-acre property...

Former CS Raphael Tuju to lose posh Dari Restaurant and 20-acre property in Karen

  • EDITOR’S BRIEF: Mr Tuju’s case serves as a cautionary tale to borrowers to be mindful of the risks of securing loans with their assets, including their homes and businesses, and to ensure that they have adequate risk management strategies to prevent loan defaults that could result in auctioning of their properties.

Former Kenyan Cabinet Secretary Raphael Tuju is set to lose two prime properties to auction, including Dari Restaurant and a 20-acre property on Tree Lane, both located in Karen, Nairobi. The properties were secured against a $9.3m loan borrowed by Mr Tuju’s company, Dari Ltd, from the East African Development Bank in 2015.

The loan has since snowballed to $16.5m (KES2.2bn) due to the weakening of the Kenyan shilling against the US dollar. The purpose of the loan was to transform Dari into a five-star facility and to fund a real estate project to develop housing units and luxury homes for sale. Mr Tuju’s guarantors for the loan included his wife and daughters, who were to buy an old Victorian bungalow to develop a gated community project of 30 three-bedroom retirement homes and a destination spa.

The restaurant, established in 2013, sits on seven acres of wooded natural environment and features indigenous plants and animals such as peacocks and wild birds wandering around. It is an eco-park themed restaurant and conference centre with an architectural design that incorporates water features, gazebos, and mazera pathways, making it a unique hospitality destination. The natural surroundings of the two properties have made the hospitality business boom in the neighbourhood. The 20-acre farm, which features boutique business and accommodation units, is also set to undergo the hammer.

Knight Frank, the bank-appointed valuers, have valued the Dari property at over KES3.5bn, which is more than double the amount owed. Mr Tuju, a career journalist, TV producer, and real estate investor, opposed the bank’s move and filed an appeal against the takeover after a High Court judge allowed the lender to manage the company.

He claimed that the properties had been undervalued, and the bank was acting in bad faith. He offered Dari’s seven acres and his residential home on Mwitu Road in Karen as securities to acquire the loan. EADB also held the project’s 20-acre title as collateral. However, the loan defaulting by Mr Tuju’s company, Dari Ltd, put the properties in jeopardy.

The restaurant’s ambience garden is ideal for picnics and private ceremonies such as birthday parties, with an entertainment section for children. The green garden features tall old trees, shrubs, and different flowers, coupled with a water body fenced off and surrounded with layers of flower varieties. The restaurant has a calm and cool atmosphere, making it a serene environment for relaxation.

The imminent forced sale of the properties has attracted public attention, with many sympathising with Mr Tuju, given his illustrious career and contribution to Kenyan society. He was a former MP of Rarieda constituency and served as Cabinet Secretary for Information and Communication in the Kenyan Government.

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