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Businessman wins first round in ownership battle for Ridgeways Inn



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The High Court has granted businessman Daniel Kimani Kariuki control of Ridgeways Inn-The Yard on Kiambu Road, and barred his former fiancée Sylvia Wamboi Karanja from setting foot in the popular nightclub.

Justice Mary Kasango ordered Ms Karanja to relinquish control of the club to Mr Kariuki, who has sued to challenge ownership changes made to the inn.

The judge ruled on Wednesday that Ms Karanja’s objection to the suit did not respond to the grave forgery allegations levelled against her, warranting the orders issued.

“This court was also swayed that an injunction ought to be issued because of the fact that Sylvia has not filed, as far as the court is concerned, a defence or a memorandum of appearance even though she was served with the summons and plaint (main case document) on October 16, 2018.”

The judge stopped Ms Karanja from receiving any payments from Ridgeways Inn and interfering with her ex-fiancé’s access and control of the club until the suit is determined.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the said Sylvia Wamboi Karanja shall cease to enter or remain at the said premises known as Ridgeways Inn-The Yard pending the hearing and determination of this suit. Daniel Kimani Kariuki is the sole person permitted by this court to run the business of Bebadis Company Limited at L.R. 27/272 along Kiambu Road until further orders of this court,” ruled Justice Kasango.

Mr Kariuki sued Ms Karanja in October, claiming that she forged documents to kick him and his niece Ruth Wanjiru Maigua out of the club’s ownership. The ownership transfer, he claims, was done just three weeks before he was to pay dowry to her family. In the case, Bebadis Ltd is listed as the first plaintiff, while Mr Kariuki and Ms Maigua are the second and third plaintiffs. Ms Karanja is listed as a defendant alongside The Ridgeways Yard Ltd, a company she owns.

Ms Karanja had filed an objection seeking to dismiss the suit.

The businesswoman argued that she is the sole director of Bebadis, and that she did not give any authority for the company to file a case in court.

“Daniel and Ruth have shown that at one time they were directors of Bebadis. They have denied resigning as directors and selling shares of the company,” Justice Kasango said in her ruling.

The judge dismissed Ms Karanja’s objection, arguing that the document was based on disputing of facts in the case. Objections seeking dismissal of a case, the judge added, are filed on points of law. Mr Kariuki says he, Ms Maigua and Ms Karanja incorporated Bebadis Ltd in October 2015 and used it to run the nightclub and other businesses.

Ms Karanja is also facing forgery charges at the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Engineer, Kinangop. She was released on a Sh1 million bond two weeks ago.

Ms Karanja was arrested following a complaint by lawyer Paul Njihia Njoroge, who denied knowing any of the parties in the ownership row or witnessing any documents in relation to the inn.

Ms Karanja has since written to DPP Noordin Haji claiming that she has been harassed by police on Mr Kariuki’s instructions over a matter that is the subject of civil proceedings.