Firm wants Somali embassy auctioned over Sh25.6 million debt

When Somalia reopened its Embassy in Nairobi. [Courtesy]

A Kenyan company is seeking to auction premises of the Somali embassy over a Sh25.6 million debt.

Kingsley Construction Limited has appointed Vetrank Investments Auctioneers after Justice Alfred Mabeya ruled in favour of the company to claim the money last year.

The company said in court that it signed an agreement with the Somali embassy to renovate its premises in Kilimani, Nairobi County.

Justice Mabeya awarded Kingsley Sh23.4 million as general damages after the Federal Republic of Somalia failed to respond to the suit despite being served with court papers.

The contract was signed in 2016 and the company was to be paid Sh53.6 million for the repairs.

The company’s Operations Manager Everlyne Nzilani told court that the embassy abruptly stopped depositing the money into their accounts and locked workmen from accessing the premises.

According to her, they reached out-of-court deal in a bid to resolve the standoff and the embassy agreed to pay the outstanding balance but did not honour its part of the deal.

She said that they later learnt that the embassy planned to award the remaining 20 per cent of the construction work to a different company that was to use some of the materials and equipment they had bought for the work.

“The plaintiff has issued the defendant with demands and notices of intention to sue but the defendant has adamantly refused to pay the plaintiff the outstanding sums and the same remain due,” she said.

Charles Madowo of CSA Advocates, who is Kingsley’s lawyer, said that the contract between the two was partly oral and partly written.

He said that the embassy breached the contract by terminating without notice and denying his client’s workers access to the premises.

In their case, Kingsley sought to be paid the Sh23.4 million as damages plus interest.

“The defendant having been duly served with summons to enter appearance has not entered appearance or filed its statement of defence within stipulated time as by law,” he said.

According to the Madowo, Somalia contemptuously refused to make an appearance in court to defend itself.

Amos Kivisu, a process server, said he delivered the summons to the embassy on June 11, 2020. He said a woman at the embassy’s reception, after perusing the documents, accepted the service by retaining copies but refused to endorse copies that were returned to court.