He is one of the most talked about personalities, but little is known about his true persona.
Controversial businessman Kamlesh Pattni, alias Brother Paul is back on the limelight, and as what has become synonymous with him, for all the wrong reasons.
This time, Pattni is entangled in a multibillion land dispute with the family of former spymaster the late James Kanyotu.
The Goldenberg scam architect has claimed ownership of a 500-acre parcel of land in Thika town estimated to be worth Sh10 billion.
Through his firm Marriot Africa International Ltd, he says the firm bought the prime property from Trendsetters Investments Ltd, who purchased it from Kangaita Coffee Estate Ltd – a firm associated with the Moi-era spy chief – for Sh700 million in 2011.
Filings tabled in court on Monday revealed that Pattni is the face behind Marriot Africa International and Trendsetters Investments.
This looks set to offer a rare peek of the business dealings between Pattni, who in recent years has stayed out of the limelight, and the secretive Kanyotu who was estimated to be over Sh20billion.
Pattni and Kanyotu had close business relations and were charged over the Sh5.8 billion Goldenberg scandal in which taxpayers lost money through a scheme to supposedly re-export gold and diamonds, which proved fictitious.
Court filings by Willy Kihara, one of Kanyotu’s sons, reveals that Marriot Africa International and Trendsetters Investments are one and the same entity, owned and controlled by Pattni.
Pattni is not new to controversy ranging from cross-border shady business dealings to insatiable appetite for big money and land grab.
Pattni is also sucked in an intricate land fraud case pitting him and family of freedom fighter the late Fred Kubai, The Informer can reveal.
In a damning petition received by the National Assembly Clerk late March 2017, Kubai family accused Pattni of fraudulently dispossessing them the land occupying International Casino on Museum Hill Nairobi associated to the tycoon.
Kubai family has laid claim of the land since 1967 until 2008 when the lease of the property was irregularly transferred to Galaxy Walker Limited, a firm linked to Pattni and Ketan Somaia.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions have been working jointly with United Kingdom Central Authority on mutual legal assistance and understanding to assist obtain evidence on how Somaia was able to transfer Kubai’s shares to Pattni’s entity without their consent.
“Kindly the family of the late Fred Kubai, would like to petition the Parliamentary Committee on Land to help recover a prime property on Museum Hill. The family has held the lease of the property since 1967 to 2008 when the lease was transferred to Galaxy Walker Limited associated with Kamlesh Pattni.” The petition read in part.
Kubai family own the land through their company Tourist Paradise Limited incorporated in 1967.
“We did establish that the companies associated to Kamlesh Pattni did not have the documents to support the transfers which are receipts of stamp duty, approval for change of user and consent to transfer to claim to be bona fide owners of the property.” The petition drawn by Andrew Kubai, son to the late freedom fighter says.
The appeal addressed to the then Lands Committee chairman Alex Mwiru was received on March 23, 2017 at the National Assembly main records unit.
The disputed land is LR number 209/7437 measuring 1.587 hectares.
Investigations by The Informer established seven years ago, Kubai family petitioned the National Land Commission (NLC) chairman Muhammad Swazuri through the Commission on Administrative Justice, Office of the Ombudsman for determination of the legitimate owner vide a letter reference number Our Ref:CAJ/P.E/040/170/2013/VOL.1/RS.
Andrew Kubai forwarded the complaint to Ombudsman office on May 31, 2013 seeking intervention in a land dispute.
“The commission is of the view that the National Land Commission is best suited to inquire into this matter and hereby, forward the complaint and supporting documentation for your further necessary action.” Former CAJ chairman Otiende Amollo told Swazuri through a correspondence dated July 16, 2013.
Pattni and Somaia were featured in the Goldenberg scandal in Kenya during the 1990s. Somaia has since been convicted by a UK court over 19.5million US Dollars fraud.
The Goldenberg scam centred on a company called Goldenberg International which claimed to be selling Kenyan gold and diamonds to companies abroad.
To encourage exports the government at the time paid Goldenberg bonuses for foreign sales.