An ailing 78-year-old widow has accused Uasin Gishu gubernatorial hopeful, billionaire Zedekiah ‘Buzeki’ Bundotich of conning her of Sh200 million.
Pauline Jepketer Cherop from Eldoret says she has known Buzeki since he was born, and that she trusted him to handle her affairs after her husband died in 2012.
“He is a boy I saw walking around naked and ate in my house. Nilimpanguza makamasi mapua. I knew he was crafty as a little boy, but I thought he would change when he grows up. Clearly, I was wrong,” says Jepketer.
But Buzeki denies trying to grab a Sh200 million piece of land from Jepketer.
“It was a business transaction and so much was involved. I can authoritatively tell you that she owes me Sh43 million and the land issue is just one of the many dealings my company had with her. The matter is active before the courts and I don’t want to talk about it, but she should tell the truth about the matter instead of maligning my name,” says Buzeki.
Jepketer, on the other hand, traces the genesis of her woes with Buzeki to June 20, 2012, when she signed an agreement to sell her husband’s estates, valued at nearly Sh200 million, to Buzeki.
Documents in possession of The Nairobian reveal that Jepketer, being the administrator of her late husband Samuel Kiptanui Cherop’s estate, entered into a sale agreement with a company, Bunoil Limited, which listed Mombasa as its physical address. Signing on behalf of Bunoil for land reference number 11973 was Zedekiah Kiprop Bundotich and his brother, Edwin Bundotich.
On page three of the agreement, the purchase price was stated as Sh180 million. “The sum of Kenya shillings (Kshs 180,000,000 shall be paid to the vendors advocate to hold as stakeholders pending successful registration of the transfer in favour of the purchaser.”
The agreement further reads: “...the balance of the purchase price of Kenya shillings one hundred and sixty two million to be paid to the vendors advocate on the completion date to hold as stakeholders pending successful registration of transfer in favour of the purchaser.”
The entire amount was to be paid within 90 days after signing of the agreement.
“Buzeki then gave me cheques totalling Sh12 million, and I gave out the title deed to the land. A week later, my bank notified me that all the cheques had bounced,” says a teary Jepketer.
With no money in her account, and having surrendered the title deed to Buzeki’s lawyers, Kipkenda and Company Advocvates, Jepketer realised she was going to lose her land if she didn’t act fast.
“I quickly looked for Buzeki who said he no longer wanted the land and told me that his lawyer will return my title deed. That was seven years ago, and to date, I have never received my title back. They are just taking me round in circles.
I have spent Sh12 million, paying lawyers to help me get my title deed back but Buzeki has blocked my access to justice because he knows people in high places. I am old and tired. I cry every night, wishing my husband was around to deal with this little boy,” weeps Jepketer.
The Nairobian has in its possession bank statements for the period between May and August 2013, showing how the cheques signed by Buzeki bounced, leaving the poor widow with cheque return charges, deducted from her account.
She says she visited all government offices but has not been accorded any help.
Jepketer says the last time she spoke to Buzeki on phone, he told her that her days were numbered and if she dies, she won’t take the land with her to the grave since he will own it.
“My grandson, being old used to be cherished, but not anymore more. Nowadays, being old is a sign of weakness and my son Buzeki has seen an opportunity to steal from me. Being old is a curse, I am now helpless. I am cursing him, I am cursing him so that he grows very old and pay for the things he has done to people on this earth. May he not die until he has finished his punishment on earth. I curse him,” she bitterly told this writer.
But Buzeki says it is all a smear campaign.
“People can say all manner of things, but business is business, and no one goes into business to lose money. When people disagree, it doesn’t mean one is being conned, it simply means something didn’t work out and there are proper procedures and systems to sort out such issues,” he said.
Surprisingly, even after talking to The Nairiobian to give his side of the story, Buzeki through his lawyers, P.I. Samba & Company Advocates, sent a demand letter moments before we went to press threatening to take legal action against this paper for intending to “carry a story whose objective is to call into disrepute, the person and the character of our client.”
The demand letter further stated that, “More disquieting and distressing is that your intended publication does not only seek (to) tarnish the great name that is Buzeki, but seeks also to drag through the mud the good names of his wife and immediate members of his family.”