Muhuri loses compensation case over terror links

Judge says matter was filed beyond required timeframe

In Summary
  • Muhuri sought Sh2 million compensation for damages caused by 2015 gazette notice
  • Case was filed 13 months after list of suspected al Shabaab funders was published
Human rights activist Khelef Khalifa
SUIT: Human rights activist Khelef Khalifa
Image: FILE

A human rights group has lost the battle to be compensated for damages caused after the government listed it as al Shabaab funders.

A petition for damages filed in 2016 by Muslims for Human Rights was thrown out by Mombasa judge Dora Chepkwony.

Muhuri wanted the government to be paid Sh2 million as compensation for damages caused.

Judge Chepkwony said the matter had been filed beyond the required timeframe and therefore its prayers could not be granted.

The judge said the case was filed 13 months after the list of suspected al Shabaab funders was published.

The law requires the matter be filed within 12 months after the gazette notice.

Chepkwony said Muhuri failed to give reasons why they had failed to institute the suit within the stipulated time.

She said despite having knowledge of the time limitation, the civil society group failed to seek leave to file the matter out of time.

The gazette notice was published on April 7, 2015 while Muhuri filed its petition in May, 2016.

Chepkwony said the plaintiffs failed to respond to pleadings raised by the respondents on the time limitation.

She said government agencies sued in the matter had inquired on why the petition had been filed beyond the limited time but Muhuri failed to respond to the inquiries.

“I therefore find this suit against the defender is statute barred by a section of Public Authorities Limitation Act,” Chepkwony said.

Muhuri was among 85 non-governmental organizations accused of aiding terror activities in the country. Their bank accounts were frozen for eight months before a Mombasa High Court ordered for re-opening of the accounts.

Thirteen months later, Muhuri alongside its chairperson Khelef Khalifa sued the AG, Inspector General of Police,CBK and the Financial Reporting Centre for wrongful accusations and damage of reputation.

Muhuri said their image had been tainted when the government listed them as funders of terror activities.

They further said they suffered mentally and economically when the Central Bank of Kenya froze their bank accounts.

Chairperson Khalifa said the freezing of their accounts left their organization on its knees and invited more problems.

He said KRA accused them of tax evasion as they could not pay taxes.