The construction of Yaya Towers next to Yaya Centre in Hurlingham, Nairobi has stalled for nearly 32 years. The building was poised to be the west wing of the popular business premise. 

Yaya Centre is owned by the family of the late Cabinet Minister Nicholas Biwott who passed away in July 2017. The former politician was declared the rightful owner of the centre after seven years of litigation in the Kenyan courts.

The appellate court ruled that the building was owned by LZ Engineering, a company linked to Biwott. Intrigues behind the case alleged that LZ purchased the property in October 1983 and transferred it to Yaya Towers Limited in 1989. 

Trade Bank, a financial institution founded by Alnoor Kassam, the accountant turned banker and his brother, Iqbal Kassam had also fought for the ownership of the property.

It was alleged that Trade Bank had fraudulently transferred the Yaya Towers to itself.

The bank had borrowed money from the Deposit Protection Fund to fund the construction of the Trade Bank building and reportedly unlawfully charged the assets of Yaya Towers Ltd to secure the loan. 

Trade Bank itself was reported to have offered a Ksh900 million loan to Biwott in the 1990s who allegedly never repaid, according to historians David Throup and Charles Hornsby in their 1998 book, Multi-party Politics in Kenya.

Hornsby added that Trade Bank was “75 per cent owned by Israeli Gad Zeevi and Biwott” with Zeevi as a director despite being founded by Kassam. 

Zeevi’s and Biwott’s other firm known as HZ Group was by then constructing the iconic Yaya Centre and Yaya Towers in Hurlingham, Nairobi, but reportedly advancing the loan under the table.

This led to liquidity problems and when Kassam who founded the bank reportedly questioned Biwott over the repayments, he was threatened with deportation and he fled to Canada. 

Biwott and Zeevi also fell out after Biwott allegedly swindled him and another Israeli Vaizman Aharoni ownership in multi-billion shilling companies that they jointly owned.

Zeevi was a close friend of a famous British-born Israeli spymaster David Kimche while Aharoni was associated with the Israeli’s Mossad spy agency.

It was reported that Biwott lived in fear of his life after crossing paths with the two men – hence his legendary paranoia.

More reports alleged that the contractor of the Yaya Towers permanently tampered with its base, entrances and pillars which led to the building being declared obsolete.

Sourced from kenyans

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