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AWARDED BY COURT

Why Meru deputy governor consented to pay rice miller Sh130m

Nice Rice Millers sued county for impounding rice wagons and revoking their license.

In Summary

• The Meru county government and the miller's director Njiru Mkombozi signed the consent agreement before Meru presiding judge Alfred Mabeya.  

A stern warning and impending jail time for contempt of court  prompted Meru deputy governor Titus Ntuchiu to consent to pay a businessman Sh130million.

Njiru Mkombozi, through his firm Nice Rice Millers Ltd, sued the devolved unit in 2015 and was awarded Sh138 million on May 2 after winning the case.

The county had impounded his rice wagons rendering many jobless, revoked his license amounting to Sh500,000 and destroyed some rice, Mkombozi said.

The Meru county government and the miller's director Njiru Mkombozi signed the consent agreement on Tuesday before Meru presiding judge Alfred Mabeya.  

The two are said to have held a lengthy discussion after the court issued a stern warning and final summonses for Ntuchiu and county secretary failure to which they would be in contempt. 

 A previous summons had been issued on June 27 by the same judge, but they explained to a satisfaction of court their reasons to skip proceedings.

Speaking to journalists at the court premises Ntuchiu said the agreement was painful because it would take away scarce resources from the county.

"Tha money would be enough to finance the construction of 20 boreholes or an annual development budget of Sh20 million for six wards,” Ntuchiu said. 

The deputy governor said he will legal advice on whether individuals should be held liable in such cases. 

“I will find out a constitutional interpretation on whether officials who commit such offences should be held personally in contempt. I wish if it was possible for the officials who caused this expense pays,” Ntuchui said.  

(edited by O. Owino)