Registrar fined Sh200,000 for contempt

Justice James Rika cited Beatrice Mathenge for not complying with the court’s orders. [iStockphoto]

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has sentenced the Registrar of Trade Unions Beatrice Mathenge to three months in prison or pay a fine of Sh 200,000 for contempt of court. 

The ruling, delivered by Justice James Rika last Friday, follows the registrar’s failure to register the proposed Kenya Musicians Union represented by lawyer Kelly Malenya as ordered by the court in August 2023.

Justice Rika cited the registrar for her “gut-wrenching contumacy” and for allowing herself to be influenced by “shadowy characters” rather than complying with the court’s orders.

“In explaining her obvious contempt of court, she gave various irrelevant narratives, which appear to compound rather than mitigate contempt. It has been noted from the outset that the Registrar is a lawyer and an officer of the court, which makes it difficult to understand why she has joined the bandwagon of Kenyan State apparatchiks, in serial disobedience of orders issued by the courts,” said Rika.

“She states that she received a copy of the judgment, but had not been able to peruse the same, due to pressure of work; she has a huge backlog of work, owing to the fact that she is the only technical officer in her office.’’

The judge expressed regret that the registrar had become a “serial contemnor,” recently convicted and sentenced to pay a fine of Sh100,000 or serve a one-month prison term in a 2022 lawsuit.