First was the disbelief that a single trouser could cost 67, 000, then the embarrassment that followed afterwards.
A dramatic fallout between tycoon Jimmy Wanjigi and high-end couture fashion designer Ravello has spilled over into a public spectacle, with the aggrieved designer now sharing WhatsApp messages with everyone. The messages allegedly reveal details of a transaction where businessman Jimmy Wanjigi acquired a pair of Ermenegildo Zegna trousers and two Brioni jackets which cost a total of 1.3 million. However, it’s alleged that the businessman, later on, was unable to pay.
The billionaire businessman has now filed an appeal at the High Court, contesting a lower court’s verdict that ordered him to pay Sh1.37 million to the clothing company over debt dispute.
Fazal – The Luxury Boutique, a high-end clothing retail company in Nairobi, had sued Wanjigi for allegedly failing to pay Sh1.37 million for clothes sold to him in 2019.
The tycoon allegedly acquired five pairs of designer trousers and two jackets from Fazal, whose parent company is Ravello Limited.
He, however, allegedly failed to pay for the Ermenegildo Zegna trousers and two Brioni jackets.
Milimani Principal Magistrate D.M. Kivuti on January 22, 2021 ruled that Wanjigi should settle the debt.
The businessman, however, allegedly failed to honour the magistrate court’s decision, prompting Ravello to file an application to auction Wanjigi’s items over the said-debt.
Ravello said it had, on multiple occasions, reached out to Wanjigi on instant messaging service WhatsApp, but he failed to heed their plea.
In their court papers, Ravello said Wanjigi owed the clothing company Sh1.3 million for the five pairs of trousers and two jackets, and Sh67,500 for another Zegna pair of trousers that he had allegedly previously obtained, but failed to pay for.
Ravello said Wanjigi had acquired the pair of trousers at Sh67,500, but he claimed it couldn’t fit him, and was to return it to the company. The firm said that Wanjigi, however, failed to return the trousers, or pay for it.
As a result, Ravello said the businessman owed the company a total of Sh1.367 million.
Ravello had told the magistrate’s court that it sold the clothes to Wanjigi on credit because of the good seller-customer relationship they’d built over the years.
Wanjigi, according to Ravello, began playing cat and mouse with the company after receiving the clothes.
Court papers filed by the luxury boutique said Wanjigi had, on different occasions, told Ravello that he was out of the country, away from his office or would constantly make payment pledges, which he’d fail to honour.
Later, Wanjigi allegedly refused to receive phone calls from Ravello representatives.
“Hi Jimmi, can I come collect $9,675 (Sh1.05 million) and one pair of trousers that you said you’ll return?” read one of the alleged WhatsApp message from Ravello to the businessman.
In yet another message, Ravello allegedly said: “Good morning Jimmi. Kindy send me the grey pair of trousers and cheque, please. Regards, Aziz.”
In a response that Ravello attributes to Wanjigi, the tycoon said: “[I] will send someone to you tomorrow morning. In which name do you want the cheque drawn?”
The company said Wanjigi had pledged to make the payments on February 26, 2020, but failed to fulfil the promise.
Wanjigi, in his counter-application, claims the boutique’s allegations are baseless, and are meant to harass and taint his “good image”.
“He (Wanjigi) does not owe the plaintiff the alleged $10,350 (Sh1.1 million) or any money at all,” the businessman’s lawyer had, previously, told the magistrate’s court.
Wanjigi alleged the WhatsApp messages produced in court had been sent by a lawyer, identified as Martin Maina.
The tycoon said Maina was not called to testify in court, and was not listed as a defendant in the suit.
Brioni was founded in Rome in 1945. In 1952, the brand organised the first menswear runway show in the modern history of fashion.
The brand is known for dressing, among others, former United States President of America Donald Trump and multi-award winning actor James Bond.
In fact, Brioni jackets are labeled “tailored for loyalty and Presidents of the World.” A single Brioni jacket could set you back between Sh44,000 and Sh1.2 million.