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Why was B Club open despite court order for its closure?

Sunday January 19 2020

B-club

B-club entrance in this photo taken on January 11, 2018 after it was shut by Nema over noise pollution. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

AMINA WAKO
By AMINA WAKO
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VINCENT ACHUKA
By VINCENT ACHUKA
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If court orders issued on October 17, 2019, had been followed, perhaps Embakasi East MP Paul Ongili, alias Babu Owino, would not have spent his weekend in police cells, as B Club would not have been open on Friday.

ROWDY REVELLERS

Kilimani residents, through a lobby, Kilimani Project Foundation, in early 2019 moved to court seeking orders to close down four clubs in the area, including B Club, which is on the first floor of Galana Plaza off Ngong Road.

The applicants said the clubs were breaching their rights to a clean and healthy environment by playing loud music at night and hosting rowdy revellers who are a security threat.

In her ruling, Justice Loise Komingoi then directed the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and City Hall to immediately revoke operating licences issued to the four clubs: B Club, Explorers Tavern, Space Lounge and Kiza Restaurant.

The Sunday Nation has learnt that Space Lounge and Kiza Restaurant obeyed the orders, but the other two have been operating. On Friday morning, Kenyans woke up to the news that Mr Owino had shot and critically injured Frank Orinda alias DJ Evolve a few minutes after 7am inside B Club. CCTV footage that captured the shooting was circulated on social media showing revellers in the club smoking shisha, which is prohibited in the country.

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FOOTAGE DELETED

A police officer based at Kilimani Police Station who spoke to the Sunday Nation in confidence said that they receive many reports, mostly of assault, from the club but little is done about it.

“Following up a matter at the club has always been futile. At times, evidence becomes a problem, with the management failing to co-operate with investigators. Mr Owino’s case only exposed the rot within the operations of the joint,” the officer said.

The officer’s sentiments confirm allegations that were raised by Mark Okwari, who was allegedly assaulted by Mr Owino’s security team but the CCTV footage that captured the events was deleted. Speaking to the media, Mr Okwari said that the club’s management turned him away when he asked for the footage.

“I was assaulted by Mr Owino’s security team and I opted to make a report at Kilimani Police Station. Unfortunately, when I went to ask for the CCTV footage, they turned me away, saying that the cameras were off when it was happening,” he said.

According to DCI detectives and a separate investigation by the Sunday Nation, it is in the same club that Kevin Adeshina Akinjiola, a 33-year-old suspected Nigerian drug lord, used to operate from, and when he sneaked back after his deportation, he held a party there.

ARRESTED AND DEPORTED

It is from the same club that detectives and Immigration officials trailed him, before arresting him and deporting him.

Mr Owino’s gun incident is not the first one to have been reported at the club. DCI detectives arrested businessman Chris Obure for threatening revellers with a gun outside the club.

In the incident reported under OB number 9/31/12/2016, the businessman had double-parked his black Range Rover, blocking other revellers, and when he was asked to move it, he pulled out a gun and caused panic.

The club is owned by B Concept Limited, whose directors are Mr Barry Ndengeyingoma alias Ndengenye and his wife of 14 years, Samia, a banker.

The Sunday Nation has obtained a document showing a Mr Barry Ndengeyingoma as one of the people who fled Rwanda after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. He relocated to Nairobi and later gained refugee status in Belgium.

RED NOTICE

The Committee for the Respect of Human Rights and Democracy in Rwanda says: “Reputed to have been enriched by looting by his criminal group, he arrived in Belgium in February of March 1996 from Nairobi (Kenya). He obtained refugee status in March 1997,” adds the report.

While we cannot independently link the Mr Ndengeyingoma cited in the report to the Ndengeyingoma who operates B Club, news outlets from Rwanda paint him as a flamboyant person, whose source of wealth is unknown and has had run-ins with the law. In several past interviews with Rwandan press, Mr Ndengeyingoma said he accumulated his wealth through “smart dealings in artisan products and real estate.”

In 2007, he was arrested following a Red Notice issued by Interpol in connection with crimes he had allegedly committed while in Belgium before returning to Rwanda at the end of 2006. He first came to Kenya in 1994 after the genocide and stayed for three years before flying to Europe. He opened the Nairobi B Club in 2015.

MONEY LAUNDERING

In July 2007, a Brussels court sentenced him to three years in prison for money laundering, forgery and impersonation.

In December same year he was arrested in Kigali following an Interpol Red Notice and a European arrest warrant in connection with crimes he allegedly committed when he was still in Europe before returning to Rwanda in December 2006.