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Man ordered to pay maintenance for another man’s child

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 00:00 -- BY MAUREEN MUDI
Munyao Child upkeep case
Charles Munyao holding pictures of his family members at the star offices yesterday. The court has ordered Charles to pay 14,833 to Virginia Nzilani for upkeep of the child. Photo Norbert Allan

A Mombasa man has challenged an order requiring him to pay for maintenance of another man's child. Charles Munyao, an employee of East African Storage Limited, has been ordered to pay Sh14,800 for the maintenance of the child. However his pay slip indicates that he only receives Sh3,500 per month after statutory deductions.

Munyao was sued for child support by Virginia Nzilani who claimed that he had promised to look after her son, even though he is not the biological father, when they lived together from 2007 until June 2010 when they separated. When she filed the case in July 2010, Nzilani argued that Munyao acquired parental responsibility by the mere fact that they were living as a couple, and he should therefore provide for the minor.

Initially, the court had directed Munyao to pay Sh5,000 per month as child support. The amount was later reduced by resident magistrate Elvis Michieka to Sh3,000 per month after Munyao said he had two other children who depended on him, and he was finding it difficult to meet all their demands from his meagre salary.

Nzilani said she was previously employed at Athi River and was able to meet her child’s needs before she met Munyao who asked her to leave her job and promised to care of them both. She said that in June 2010, he threw her out of the home they had built on a piece of land they had jointly bought at Mrima in Likoni. He had also forced her out of a retail shop she had started and stocked with her life's savings. Nzilani said she was forced to seek refuge at her aunt’s house.

Munyao disputed her claims saying, “I met the plaintiff in 2007 and she explained to me that she is a destitute single mother, seeking employment. Out of pure compassion, I offered to employ her as a shop attendant at my Likoni shop. She also occupied one of my rental houses for which I would deduct some money from her pay.” Nzilani insisted that the area sub chief, Munyao's brother and neighbors could bear witness that her relationship with Munyao was that of husband and wife as they had tried to resolve their marital problems.