Relief for distributor as court to hear case against EABL

The protracted legal battle between beer distributor, Bia Tosha, and East African Breweries Ltd (EABL) is set for another round, with the Court of Appeal now set to hear the case in May.

The court will finally hear the contempt of court order against EABL on May 28 after several attempts by the regional brewer to stall the suit since 2016.

The Court of Appeal had directed EABL to continue doing business with Bia Tosha pending determination of the case in which the latter is contesting the termination of a beer distribution contract on 22 routes in Nairobi.

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Bia Tosha wants the court to compel EABL to refund over Sh38 million in goodwill it claims it had paid for the distribution routes.

EABL had argued that it had the right to appoint other distributors to serve the routes, arguing that Bia Tosha had failed to sufficiently supply them.

EABL in its appeal of the High Court ruling had argued that it erred for not considering that by allowing Bia Tosha to continue with the contract, it would affect other parties who had also been contracted.

EABL lawyers George Oraro and Kamau Karori had argued that the case before the Supreme Court was null and void as the Court of Appeal had not even started hearing the main case.

“The appellant wants the Supreme Court to order the Court of Appeal to hear the contempt application first before hearing the appeal. This is an abuse of the court process,” argued Mr Oraro. On its part, Bia Tosha filed for contempt at the Supreme Court accusing the manufacturer of failing to effect the directive by the High Court.

Bia Tosha suffered a blow in December last year when the Supreme Court said it had no jurisdiction to hear its application to have the EABL managers punished for contempt, referring the case back to the Court of Appeal.

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EABLBia ToshaEast African Breweries Ltd