Court review: AIC elections halted as Njiru land dispute continues

It has been a week of dismisses ranging from property disputes to bank accounts.

In Summary

• KeRRA official's Sh21m 'bride price' will remain in a frozen account after Justice Sifuna said the monies would be available once the source has been ascertained.

• "The monies are safe in the bank, and they will still be available for the respondent once the legitimate purpose for which they were preserved is fulfilled," the judge said.

The Supreme Court in Nairobi.
The Supreme Court in Nairobi.

As the week ends, a few personalities are not well-pleased with some of the decisions made by the courts.

From suspension of church elections to unsolved property disputes, this is the week's court review.

AIC Kenya elections stopped

On Thursday, the High Court stopped elections of different organisational councils of the Africa Inland Church-Kenya (AIC-K) after members filed a case.

The elections were scheduled for Sunday, November 12.

But the members led by Reverend Stephen Melly told the court that the intended elections were flawed as the presiding bishops had not listed all the offices that were supposed to be declared vacant.

Justice Lawrence Mugambi issued temporary orders restrained the carrying out of the Church election in all its organizational structures being the local church council, district church council, regional church council, area church council and central church council.

Njiru land dispute

The Njiru land, which has over 500 residents and over 10 social institutions was on October 23, declared as the property of former Starehe MP Gerishon Kirima.

Delivering the judgement, Environment and Land Court Judge Samson Okong’o gave the persons in the land up to December 31, to vacate and hand over possession of the property to the estate of Kirima.

"If they fail to do so, the estate is at liberty to evict them from the property," Okong'o ruled.

Shortly after the ruling however, an Italian Bernado Vicezo Demasi moved to court saying the land belongs to his deceased father Dominico De Masi.

Vicezo says he was not aware of the court case that had been going on before Justice Okong'o, and claimed to have crucial evidence and information to support the ownership.

Now the residents want the orders issued on the vacation to be stopped temporarily.

Through Lawyer Danstan Omari on Monday, they also asked that the DCI investigates the documents presented in court by the Kirima family and those of the Vicezo's with the view of establishing legality.

Justice Anne Omollo declined to certify the residents case as urgent but directed that the parties be heard on November 20, before issuing any directions.

Tuju property dispute - Far from over

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dealt former Cabinet Secretary Raphael Tuju a blow after declining his request to present additional evidence in a Sh3.5 billion property dispute with a regional bank.

He had prayed that the court allowed him to provide the evidence saying he would be disadvantaged if the court proceeded to hear his appeal in its absence.

The additional evidence was to support his appeal in which he is challenging the seizure of property in Karen by the East African Development Bank (EADB) among other things.

In dismissing his application, a bench of five judges led by Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu said, "the application reeks of a belated afterthought with the objective of filling up gaps in the case".

In the case, the bank initially filed the case before a London Court seeking to compel Dari Limited to offset a Sh1.5 billion loan.

The loan was meant for the construction of a flat-roofed bungalow which currently operates as a high-end restaurant.

The court subsequently allowed the regional bank to recover the money from Tuju's real estate company.

Implementation of new charges on ID issuance and replacement suspended

On Wednesday, Interior CS Kithure Kindiki gazetted new charges for ID card issuance, replacement and passport issuance.

The notice said those applying an ID for the first time will pay Sh1000 while those replacing lost cards had their charges increase by 20 per cent to Sh2000.

A day later, a concerned Kenyan filed a petition seeking to stop the implementation.

Nakuru-based surgeon Magare Gikenyi said the charges were capricious and out of reach of many Kenyans.

He urged the court to certify the matter as urgent and issue conservatory orders stopping the implementation of the new charges.

"A conservatory order be and is hereby issued suspending Gazette Notices No. 15239-15249 dated November 6, 2023, and any other document purporting to give authority to increase or review the charges/fees/levies specified therein pending the hearing and determination of the application inter-partes, " an order by Justice Lawrence Mugambi said.

SRC- Judges car allowance row

The matter challenging a decision by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) that scrapped the taxable car allowances for judges has been referred to Chief Justice Martha Koome.

The High Court Wednesday said the issues raised in the petition filed by Peter Mwangi are weighty and should be handled by more than one judge.

Mwangi in his petition seeks to reinstate the taxable car allowances for all judges which they have enjoyed since 2011 and which were scrapped in 2021 by the SRC.

In his assessment, the judge said the issues raised in the petition are not mere questions of law but substantial issues that have not been expressly interrogated yet.

"They need to be conclusively settled to ensure consistency," he said.

The matter will be mentioned on November 29, to confirm if the CJ will have empaneled a bench.

KeRRA official's Sh21m 'bride price' still frozen 

The Sh21 million said to be dowry payment belonging to a junior roads official, Daniel Wambua remains frozen after he lost a bid to have orders freezing the account set aside.

Justice Nixon Sifuna dismissed Wambua's application saying the monies would be available once the source of such funds is ascertained.

"The monies are safe in the bank, and they will still be available for the respondent once the legitimate purpose for which they were preserved is fulfilled," the judge said.

The court noted that the orders issued in August served to allow EACC to carry out its probe regarding the source of the funds.

EACC obtained the orders to freeze his account after convincing the court that there was a reasonable suspicion that the money received in the several accounts had been acquired through a US office or bribes.

They told the court that Wambua earned a monthly salary of Sh55,000 yet amassed Sh21 million in four months.

The matter will be mentioned on February 12, 2024.

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