As you stroll through Nairobi, it’s hard to miss the iconic green-netted building of the Overseas Trading Company (OTC) along Ronald Ngala Street. Despite being under construction for a decade, the building is well-known and considered a landmark, especially for travelers using the nearby bus station. Behind this building is Victor Maina Ngunjiri, a successful Thika-based businessman.
Victor Maina Ngunjiri has a vast business portfolio including investments in real estate, quarries in Juja, entertainment joints, and construction companies across various counties. He is also the face behind the Maathai Supermarket chain. He purchased the OTC building in 2006 from its previous owners, Ravinder Lakhamshi Shah and Nilesh Dayalji Shah, with all tenants still in occupation. The building was reported to cost Ksh72 million.
The building was previously home to the famous Jack n Jill Supermarket, which occupied the building as one of its first tenants. However, a conflict between Maina and the supermarket owner, Schon Noorani, resulted in a six-year court battle, which delayed the completion of the building.
In a civil suit, Noorani accused Maina of failing to provide a peaceful enjoyment of the premises for a seven-year period. Noorani stated that Maina asked him to vacate the premises to allow for renovations. Maina countered that the building required significant repairs, as recommended by a visit from the Business Premises Rent Tribunal in 2009. The tribunal pointed out cracks in the walls and ordered the building be closed for repairs.
Noorani was dissatisfied with the seven-day notice to vacate and sought a revocation of the order, which was approved by the Court of Appeal. Noorani also sought a rent refund of Ksh4.3 million. Maina argued that the case lacked merit, based on a contractual obligation between tenant and landlord. The court ruled in Maina’s favor and dismissed Noorani’s plea.
Unfortunately, Noorani’s business suffered a significant loss in May 2013 after the demolition of Jack n Jill Supermarket. The building is now at an advanced stage of completion, and the opening date is yet to be announced. Over the years, the green netting around the building has become a recognizable feature at the heart of Nairobi’s OTC.