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JOPA VILLAS: THE DIASPORA INITIATED DREAM PROJECT IN KENYA THAT NEVER WAS

JOPA VILLAS: THE DIASPORA INITIATED DREAM PROJECT IN KENYA THAT NEVER WAS

File Picture of J.P Njoroge convincing people in Boston to buy his proposed houses. In the year 2004 , a soft spoken U.S.A. based developer who was more convincing than Rev Deke O’Malley of the 1970 movie “cotton comes to Harlem”, convinced many Kenyans in USA and UK Diaspora to join him in investing back

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File Picture of J.P Njoroge convincing people in Boston to buy his proposed houses.

In the year 2004 , a soft spoken U.S.A. based developer who was more convincing than Rev Deke O’Malley of the 1970 movie “cotton comes to Harlem”, convinced many Kenyans in USA and UK Diaspora to join him in investing back home  in Kenya.

Unlike Rev. Deke who ripped off Harlem’s African-American population with dishonest claims to the effect that small donations would secure parcels of land in Africa, the US based developer was promising Kenyans to the effect that Ksh 2.5 million was good enough to secure a place to call home.

His name was John Paul (no relation to the pope) and those close to him only knew him as J.P.

The shrewd businessman and a very enterprising in all fairness had built an empire in Austin, Houston and Dallas in real estate whose estimated worth was in excess of 450 million Dollars.

All of them apart from one Bonds funded located in Mckinney TX were Tax Credit projects that were administered by the Texas Department of Housing. The majority of his market units were financed by Key bank.

JNP Properties was by all means a company to reckon with as far as tax credits projects were concerned and just to show you how serious he was here is the team he had hired.

He had employed a qualified Architect who by then was doing his Phd in Project management at University of Texas in Austin to carry out all the initial preliminary proposals.

JNP Properties had also hired a brilliant Kenyan lady who was a Phd holder from University of Texas in Austin who did all the underwriting and to sum it all JP was a computer technology genius and surely as they say everything JP touched turned into gold.

He had done a lot in US and time was up to diversify and make his firm JNP Properties to go global and as they say Charity begins at home, he Chose Kenya his base to start developing a series of housing schemes that he had in mind not only in Kenya but anywhere in Africa.

He had vowed to single handedly as he once narrated to the writer to solve the housing crisis in Kenya.

The idea had come after yet another big deal to buy a passenger plane that had the same concept like the direct freight did not get approval.

He then got an idea from one Kevin about how OPIC was helping upcoming Diaspora businesses and the news had come at the appropriate time.

He did it at ease and after presenting his well documented portfolio to Debra Erb the then underwriter at Overseas Private Investment Company (O.P.I.C.), he got without delay the go ahead to present his proposal.

Preliminary plans and a feasibility study done by JNP Properties employees got instant  approval without delay and John Paul was to be granted development funds in stages totaling to 12 million dollars which was enough to develop 420 housing Units along Mombasa road .

It was a dream come true to the little known developer in Kenyan circles and after landing in Kenya to embark on the project, he had to show them he was no push over.

When he was interviewed, he gave a tale of rags to riches and all were in photos showing the many projects he had developed in America. He had gone further to sweeten his life story that made him owner of an imaginary jet as that was a lie told in broad daylight for he had none except a Mercedes S500 which by all means cannot qualify to be called a jet.

That however, was the project that would shorten his career in real estate world for the entire dream was shuttered just the moment it was started. It was no different to promising your child a toy and later entering the house in the evening without it.

Jopa Villas was one development that greatly eroded the faith and confidence of Diaspora investors for what followed after OPIC released funds to the company JNP properties, and to determine why the project never made any progress after funding, is like tying to locate the grave of the late Dedan Kimathi.

We will extensively copy different stories so that readers can get an idea why Diaspora people’s faith was eroded and since then, no one have confidence in developers from the Diaspora when it comes to investing.

Many lost thousands of dollars and up to today are still waiting for the outcome of the case that is still dragging in Kenyan courts.

Whether they will get the refunds when the said land is sold to a new developer or not? …Your guess is as good as mine.

The sad thing is; some who lost all their savings got high blood pressure and others that would always visit his office at Guadalupe street in Austin just to at least get some hope, developed depression and one eventually died.

HOW PROJECT ATTRACTED MANY IN USA AND UK AFTER NATION REPORT

Nation Report

A housing project to be financed by a US company to the tune of $7.1 million (Sh580 million) starts this December.

Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic) is financing the project through JNP Properties, a company owned by Kenyan-American John Paul. The loan to JNP Properties will be used to build 400 low cost houses in Nairobi’s Embakasi area.

The signing of the deal in Washington last week was witnessed by Finance minister David Mwiraria, who was leading a top-level Kenyan delegation to the American capital.

Mr. Paul signed for JNP, while OPIC was represented by its president and chief executive officer, Dr Peter Watson, a statement released by the two organizations said. 

Jopa Villas is a subsidiary of JNP Properties Inc. based in Austin Texas, USA.
The Lavish Maisonettes (3 Bedrooms=ksh2.8mill) and (4 Bedrooms=ksh3.8Mill) are Located along Mombasa road close to Nation Centre Printing firm. The development will have a nursery school and adequate playing area for family living. The location is superb and approximately 15 minutes drive from city center with easy access of public transport, providing residents with commuting links. When you feel like getting out and exploring the vicinity think “Jopa Villas”.

A)Four Bedrooms Maisonettes – 150 Units
– Master bedroom with balcony.
1ST FLOOR PLAN
– Inbuilt wardrobes. 
– Spacious bedroom 
– Common bathroom 
GRD FLOOR PLAN
Porch
– Kitchen 
– Guestroom with inbuilt wardrobe – Visitor’s cloakroom 
– Lounge opening to the yard – Self-contained DSQ 
– Dining room 
Plinths area: 150 sq. M. (1617 sq. Ft.) 
Asking Price: Kshs. 3.8 Million 

B)Three Bedrooms Maisonettes – 173 Units
GRD FLOOR PLAN -Lobby – Common bath 
– Master bedroom – Two bedrooms 
Lounge
– Kitchen 
– Dining room – Visitor’s cloakroom 

Plinths area: 117 sq. M. (1261.26 sq. Ft.) 
Asking Price:Kshs. 2.8 Million 

Joppa Villas, a 370 housing unit project, had its ground breaking ceremony by the years 2007 and it was at its development process when 2008 post election violence occurred in Kenya.

Then the project stalled and a legal battle was initiated by the lender OPIC and JNP Properties kicked out of site for non performance as per contract.

The land and partially built estate is now up for sale as OPIC want to recover the money.

The big issue are those who invested their money as they may never get back their deposits.

WHAT REALLY WENT WRONG AND WAS JP JUST ANOTHER CONMAN.

Here we can not conclusively say that this developer was just out to con poor Kenyans for that was not the first project to undertake.

We did an initial inquiry and found out that the Government was partly to blame as corruption may have forced JP to loose interest because as a freshman from Diaspora he was new to the crooked ways things are done in Kenya and may have had so many people opposing the project. He had to be assimilated into the culture and the question is.

Did he spend money meant for development to bribe the people that facilitate approvals?

Was he tempted by the same politician to join politics (that failed him miserably) so that he could show them the way to get foreign funding?

JP expectations were so high and he must have been frustrated by the building process that he thought was as easy like he was used to in America.

We will never get an answer as efforts to contact John Paul bore no fruits but just assumed that JP may have realized that the venture was not profitable after all, and never wanted to continue with a project that would tie him for the rest of his life while repaying huge loans.

The sad side is the fact that OPIC lost the faith it had in American small business enterprises and just blocked easy path to the Diaspora borrowers and started dealing with the Government like it’s the case now.

It will be extremely hard to borrow from American lenders and Diaspora chances of doing worthwhile investment will only happen with full support of the Government,

And Just Like Deke in the Movie “Cotton Comes to Harlem” never took the black people to Africa, John Paul or Popes namesake too never made it possible for people in the Diaspora and elsewhere to see their new homes.

CRIES THAT FOLLOWED WHEN THE PROJECT STALLED

One John Njoroge Paul of JNP properties sold an idea 2 yrs ago about this development of residential houses along mombasa road – Jopa Villas and took 10% deposits from humble kenyans (See www.jopavillas.com).

Now 2 yrs down the road the company does not answer nor return calls or mail,there website is on and off (and when it’s on there are no more updates) .

Is this a con by the guy who is reputed to even own a plane in Texas? Where the heck are this JNP people and will they ever deliver (complete) these houses? I am calling on other members who invested in this scheme to join me in DEMANDING answers or our money back. In unity we can! Class action lawsuit!!??? You can reach me at wasike_joseph at yahoo dot com

Another concerned Kenyan

The project surely seems like a con since the communication from the guy has been limited and far apart without much substance. the project was to start in 2004 (mtoto mwenye alizaliwa mwaka huo yuaenda shule!) When I last inquired this is three weeks ago,I was informed that he was negotiating a loan with Stanbic bank (can anyone confirm this?) who are to buy off his loan from OPIC and fund the project to completion. its not clear if this deal went through and what the next action from him is. The guy in the office seems not to have too much info on the revised project plan (if any) or JP’s plans to be in country. You can reach him on this number 0722274112 the name is yatich. I personally have deciced that i don’t want to wait anymore and am following up on my refund which i am told will be given less 8000/= which are admin costs. If this is not forthcoming then perhaps a legal suit will follow! I hope this helps!

A Kenyan desperately trying to get his money back

The guy has another office in Texas. As of last week the voicemail is full and cannot take anymore messages. The guy has stopped communication with his customers. i guess he will have to sell his so called plane and settle with us.. think about it if he put all the deposit money into a fixed deposit account he is laughing all the way to the bank from interest income.

To answer some more questions: The houses were being sold off plan. Construction commenced but did not go on for long, with the houses in various stages of completion.

I see lawsuit as the way out..this smells like a con any day…

In my opinion, JNP run out of excuses. This has turned out to be a like a bad wedding. During the first months of the project investors were invited to the site and treated like royalty as they sat under white tents to shield them from the sun. The website was updated regularly with pictures and emails signed by JNP himself. After a bunch of excuses starting from OPIC not releasing the funds to the slow process it takes to get clearance to build, the project was underway but stalled after a few months and another email followed saying that the first phase was almost complete. People who visited the site saw a few houses all partially done. Families put their lifetime savings trusting that these project would be completed within the standard time it takes others of such size and style to complete but JNP and his people have failed the investors. The last time we saw JNP,was on the list of aspiring MP’s in December. 

We demand answers in writing to explain why we have not heard or seen any updates in the project and how we can claim our deposit.

Chance favors the prepared mind.

Ati 2 years? This thing started around 2004-2005. I paid 1% (28k for the 3 b/room) with the agreement that I will pay the remaining 9% deposit once the houses were ready. My bank was do the 90% the rest via a mortgage. This was before they started threatening the guys who had paid 1% to top up to 10% because OPIC had refused to release additional funds until they saw ‘commitment’. Thank God I didn’t.

What I could never figure is why it took years to complete just one show-house. Even with only 1% deposit from each applicant, you would only need 55 such deposits to complete a 3-broom house including fittings. Yet the development boasts about 500 houses. The dude is a C.O.N.

I had followed JNP properties and even talked with John Paul himself in view of riding his coattails and build even a small community next to his.

I went to Texas, and later found JP in California, I also went to Kenya to look at his land, which to my surprise was undeveloped land full of brush and occasional small acacia trees and a railway line quarter of a mile in the back, and all open space. This was in 2006,and I knew all JNP houses were sold out in a matter of a few weeks, mostly to Diaspora folks.

First, I was no longer impressed with the project and thought I could do better elsewhere, for which the current data /development bears this out. I thought it was a bad choice and I still do. A project of that magnitude does not make sense in that kind of a location.

 I therefore started looking at the man JP and the project itself. JP is a self made man who also can easily self-destruct. Secondly,JP was just a front for a number of OPIC investors and the 6-9 million were actually contributed/promised by a number of American investors to develop housing in Kenya.

I also understand there are a number of infrastructural developments that needs to be done on the land and there are many issues outstanding between Jopa Villas and city in order to move ahead,I also hear JP has proven hard headed on some outstanding issues ranging from the land being public land and so forth …

To those that bought the houses: unless this project is a resounding success, I doubt it will ever be what was visualized. I would strongly urge you to get your money and move on.

This dude is acon. Started a CNA school and couldn’t afford to pay his staff. His debts is more than his assets so be careful guys.

We used to hear alot about him and I attended one of his talks…Wealth only to realize that he is broke.

Like I said good people JNP properties does not respond to calls nor mail, Infact a letter mailed to their Texas office was returned because it was NOT CLAIMED. Therefore there is no office. This is what we should all do 

1) Demand our money back in writting. cc OPIC 

Overseas Private Investment Corporation
Information Officer,Office of External Affairs
1100 New York Avenue,NW
Washington,D.C. 20527

2) Call OPIC Anti-coruption hotline ( they will call you back even if you leave a message…beileve me this is the US gov)

OPIC Anti-Corruption HOTLINE
Call the HOTLINE to receive guidance on anti-corruption practices and to report allegations of corruption and fraud in connection with OPIC supported projects.

Anti-Corruption HOTLINE: (202)-312-2153 

3) US Small claims court to recover my deposit….in 2 weeks…

If we all call and write to OPIC something has got to give…

OPIC website…

http://www.opic.gov/about/contact/index.asp 

 was told this guy ran for bunge in 2007 in Limuru. I did some research and this is what I found. You guys should verify if this is accurate.

From Nation website (read the whole story)

http://politics.nationme…er.asp?fs=1&sid=405 

From ECK website he got 1,115 votes in Limuru on a New Ford Kenya ticket. Here is the link:

http://www.eck.or.ke/ele…%20%20by%20constituency(2007).pdf

If this is the same person,I must say this is quite astonishing that he is running for bunge yet the houses are not complete.
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Mail after mail and all went silent thereafter ..so the big question is?

WILL INVESTORS IN THIS PROJECT THAT NEVER GOT COMPLETED GET BACK THE MONEY THEY CONTRIBUTED.?

Maybe John Paul can answer but where can one get him as he is a busy man and still driving the very same left hand Mercedes S500 in Kenyan streets that he had at one time confused for a jet.

Maybe it can fly who knows?

D.K. Gitau

President

Kenyan Parents in USA

We are the Diaspora voice.

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