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Popular Simmers bar and restaurant closed

Friday March 2 2018

Simmers bar and restaurant.

Popular Simmers bar and restaurant closed and property removed from the premises on March 2, 2018. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

PATRICK LANG'AT
By PATRICK LANG'AT
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Police on Friday evening removed furniture and everything stocked at the popular Simmers Restaurant in Nairobi CBD.

A contingent of police stormed the restaurant bringing to an end the sprawling life of the popular joint.

DISPUTE

“I do not know what is going on. I do not know why this is happening,” the owner, former Kimilili MP Suleiman Murunga, told the Nation.

“The police have stormed here, and instead of being an arbiter they have come with orders that have not even been served on me. This is impunity!”

Mr Murunga is engaged in a fight for the plot with the family of former Finance minister Arthur Magugu, which says it co-owns the property with Nilestar Holdings Limited.

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But Mr Murunga, in court cases since 2014, has told the court that the ownership of the plot by Nilestar lapsed when its 99-year lease ended in December 2009, adding that the firm has no right to demand rent for the three years.

Mr Murunga told the court he applied and received allotment letter on November 3, 2011 from the Commissioner of Lands after paying Sh2.4 million but Nilestar’s lease renewal bid in October 2009 was allegedly rejected.

PROPERTY CASE

In court papers in January 2014, Mr Murunga said he owned the premises he has rented for years on grounds that he was awarded the property in 2011 by the Commissioner of Lands after Nilestar’s lease expired four years ago.

He moved to court seeking a restraining order against Nilestar Holdings — which in mid-December threatened to evict Simmers from the prime property at the junction of Kenyatta Avenue and Mundi Mbingu Street over Sh1.62 million rent arrears.

On Friday, Mr Murunga said the case was still ongoing.

“The case is not over,” he said.

RATES

The restaurant has also been facing problems with the county government over land rates.

In May 2014, county government officials pounced on the restaurant to attach Sh1.1 million in land rates owed to City Hall.

However, Mr Murunga, who was at the establishment, wrote two cheques to the county to settle the matter that nearly turned ugly.

A year later, the county government was at the establishment again, this time demanding Sh12 million in arrears.