Insurance firm loses bid to stop property sale over Sh50m claim

Lawyer Kipkoech Ng'etich with his client Hassan Ibrahim on July 11, 2023. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

An insurance company embroiled in a legal battle with two businessmen has lost the bid to stop auctioneers from attaching and disposing of its property over a Sh50 million claim.

In a judgment delivered last week, Justice Hillary Chemitei said Monarch Insurance Company Ltd failed to demonstrate it stands to suffer any loss should the two Nakuru businessmen, Hassan Ibrahim and Abdirahman Nurrow get paid.

“On the same note, it has not been demonstrated that the respondents may not pay back the decretal sum in the event that the intended appeal succeeds. It appears that the battle has lasted more than a decade, and they need at least to enjoy the fruits of the judgment,” stated Justice Chemitei in his ruling.

The judge said he was satisfied that by the time the auctioneer was served with the order, it had already attached the applicant’s goods at the Eldoret office, and did not proceed to the Nakuru office after being notified by its counsel.

Mr Ibrahim and Nurrow are demanding money as compensation from Monarch Insurance after their fuel tankers were destroyed in a fire during an incident in a yard in Juba, South Sudan, ten years ago.

The two, through lawyer Kipkoech Ng’etich, early this year picked Saddabri Auctioneers to help them recover the money and seize the insurance firm’s Sh25 million property in Eldoret over the claims.

They attached and proclaimed Monarch’s office equipment, including computers and water dispensers, on January 18. The seizure of the property saw Monarch move to court, claiming operations at its Eldoret office were crippled, and it continues to lose revenue every day the property remains seized.

Ibrahim and Nurrow sued the company in 2012 for compensation after the fuel tankers insured by the company were destroyed in the fire.

The two businessmen, transporters of petroleum goods, said they took comprehensive insurance policies with the respondent in August 2011. This was to protect their trucks and tankers from insurable risks such as fire, theft, and accidental damages. The traders said their properties were completely destroyed when the policies were in place.

The tankers had been parked at the customs department yard in Juba, South Sudan when the fire broke out.

In their suit papers, Ibrahim said he visited the insurance company on July 21, 2011, in Nakuru to buy insurance cover for his truck.

He said he requested a comprehensive cover on the basis of Sh7.31 million (truck and tanker) and Sh3 million for goods he would be carrying.

The businessman said he filled out a proposal form and paid Sh740,156 as a premium to the insurance firm.

He said he paid Sh22,903 to the company for the Comesa Yellow Card. Ibrahim said he was informed the Comesa cards covered damage to a third party while the truck and tanker were in use, across the region.

Nurrow said he, too, filled out a proposal form showing the value of the truck and the tanker at Sh7.69 million. He said he paid Sh771,700 to the firm as a premium to cover the truck, tanker, and value of goods ferried Sh3 million. A tribunal was later appointed to arbitrate the matters.

In its July 30, 2021 award, the tribunal ordered Monarch to pay Ibrahim Sh10.31 million and Nurrow Sh10.69 million. The awards were to attract interest. Monarch moved to the High Court seeking an order to set the awards aside. However, Justice Mumbua Matheka dismissed the application on October 12, 2022. The court, Justice Chemitei said will not allow the prayers to suspend execution of the order pending appeal.

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