Former Taveta MP Basil Criticos is embroiled in a court battle with a woman who claims they secretly cohabited for eight years before she was thrown out of their home.
The story of Criticos and Victoria Anna Hill is one of love and denial, betrayal and deception, claims of theft and cruelty as told through a flurry of court documents filed since 2015, when the erstwhile mutual lovers stopped seeing eye-to-eye.
At the centre of the dispute is Sh25 million, which Victoria claims she loaned Criticos to expand his businesses, and 100 acres she says the MP promised to reward her "in kind" for her good services for the eight years of cohabitation.
Whereas Victoria stated that they cohabited from 2006 and invested heavily in their business until 2014, when the relationship broke down, Criticos swore that the lady was an opportunist who took advantage of her employment at his firm to demand a share of his multi-million shillings wealth.
“I have never cohabited with her as common law partners, as I have been happily married to Barbara Kirwan Criticos for 18 years. I do not understand the basis of her claims, as I only contracted her as an interior decorator at my property known as Grogan’s Castle,” said Criticos.
He counter-accused Victoria of breaking into his storage while he was away in the United States and stealing his valuables worth Sh23 million, which he wants the court to compel her to refund.
Victoria has, however, denied ever breaking into Criticos’ container to steal his belongings, stating that they had lived together for eight years as husband and wife and had all the keys to their home and safes, which she could access anytime.
“He is lying that I stole from him. I want nothing of his. I only want my money and investment I made in his home back. He left me destitute, without any concern for my wellbeing after living with me for over eight years, where I supported him financially and emotionally,” swore Victoria.
Victoria seeks to compel Criticos to refund her the Sh25 million loan, honour the promise to allocate her 100 acres and return to her all household items she bought to furnish their home including furniture, decorations, artifacts, beddings and kitchen utensils.
She swore that they started cohabiting with Criticos in 2006 as common law partners and since they were in love, he started lending the former MP some money with a promise that he would repay once he disposed some of his properties.
“He approached me to rehabilitate his property known as Grogan Castle registered in the name of Kenya Trade and Development Ltd. I agreed to renovate it at a fee which he consented to before I embarked on the work,” swore Victoria.
Because of her good work, she stated that Criticos in August 2010 undertook to pay her in kind by transferring 100 acres of his land in Taveta which at the time was valued at Sh40 million.
She attached a letter dated August 6, 2010 from lawyer Walker Kontos on behalf of Criticos confirming that the former MP had agreed to surrender the portion of land and that the law firm had been instructed to effect the transfer once the deed plan was effected.
Victoria says she loaned the former MP $118,000 (Sh11.8 million) between 2006 and 2014, which he acknowledged and promised to repay before their relationship broke down in August 2014.
“He acknowledged in writing the debt he owed me, but he refused to pay me and instead alleged that I am a thief who stole his properties and firearm. On account of other amounts and the interests, he is indebted to me to the tune of Sh25 million,” said Victoria.
She said by the time she was leaving Cricticos’ place, she had been denied access to her personal belongings, which she wants back.
In one of the letters she attached as evidence, Criticos had instructed that in case he dies before the debt was settled, the amount should be paid to her upon realisation of sales of his property.
But in his response, Criticos denied ever cohabiting with her as husband and wife, stating that he was happily married to one wife.
He filed a counterclaim against Victoria to stop her from disposing his assets she allegedly took from their Grogan Castle home without his knowledge.
“On diverse dates in 2014, while I was out of the country, she broke into my container on Magadi Road and stole various valuable items... including my family paintings valued at Sh23 million,” said Criticos.
Criticos says he contracted Victoria as an interior decorator in 2006 to rehabilitate the Grogan Castle, and that at no time did the woman invest any amount in his businesses.