Interior PS Karanja Kibicho ordered to appear in court for contempt

Interior PS Karanja Kibicho. [David Njaaga, Standard]

A high court in Embu has ordered the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government Karanja Kibicho to appear personally in court on March 3, 2022, for contempt of court orders.

Embu high court Judge Lucy Njuguna in a ruling observed that inaction and neglect was a disregard of a valid order which grossly undermines the dignity of the court.

She observed that it was essential for the maintenance of the rule of law and order, that the authority and dignity of courts are upheld at all times.

She warned that the court will not condone deliberate disobedience of its orders and will not shy away from its responsibility to deal firmly with proved contempt.

"In the given circumstances I, therefore, hold that the respondents have been found to be in contempt of court orders and the first respondent is hereby given a period of 30 days to purge the contempt," ordered Justice Njuguna.

She further ruled that the matter shall be mentioned on a date to be fixed in court for further orders

In a Miscellaneous civil application at the high court in Embu, Elija Kithaka Nthiga and Sospeter Muturi listed as first and second applicants had sued the Principal Secretary, Ministry of interior and coordination of national government as the first respondent and the Attorney general as the second respondent.

The applicants had brought judicial review proceedings under miscellaneous application no 25 of 2018 seeking an order to compel the respondents to pay the decretal amount awarded in Chief Magistates court civil cases number 161 of 2008 and 67 of 2007. The said orders were granted by Embu Chief Magistrate's court.

By notice of motion dated October 23, 2020 the applicants sought orders that the current serving principal Secretary, ministry of interior and coordination of national government be punished for contempt of court and that the costs of the application be paid by the respondents.

High court Judge Lucy Njuguna observed that the high court issued an order compelling the respondents to pay the applicants the decretal amount awarded in Chief Magistrate's court civil cases amounting to Sh79,055 together with the costs and interest as per the certificate of costs dated January 1, 2020.

"For whatever reason, the respondents chose to pay the decretal amount but failed and/or neglected to pay the costs of sh79,055 together with interest. The applicant argued that the respondents are fully aware of the existence of the said certificate of costs since the applicants counsel had been in contact with respondents’ representatives as submitted in Court," Judge Njuguna noted.

She also noted that the respondents had filed grounds of opposition that the application was fatally defective, bad in law and not based on material facts, that the application as filed was imprecise, frivolous and that it was based on conjecture, ill will and ought to be dismissed with costs.

The applicants had submitted that the PS and Attorney general despite service had failed, refused and neglected to file any response and therefore their application was unopposed.

The judge in her ruling observed that the court orders were outright an unambiguous and proceeded to determine whether the respondents were served.

"Upon analysis of evidence, I do note that the service of the orders was effected by the learned counsel of the application upon the respondents and further from the court record the counsel for the respondent was at one time ready to discuss an out of court settlement," Judge Njuguna noted.

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