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Tycoon sues House team over Utalii College case

COAST
By Joackim Bwana | October 25th 2021

Artist impresiion of Ronald Ngala Utalii College, Kikambala, Kilifi County. [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

A tycoon has filed a case to quash summons from a Parliamentary Select Committee to probe him over alleged graft in the construction of Ronald Ngala Utalii College in Kilifi County.

In the documents filed at the High Court in Mombasa, Issak Hardware Limited MD Ahmed Noormohamed Issak alleged some committee members in Parliament were out to extort.

In the suit, the clerk of the National Assembly and chairperson of the Select Committee on Implementation have been cited as respondents.

Mr Issak is named interested party in the suit, while Coast Legal Aid and Resource Foundation (CLARF) Kenya is an exparte applicant.

On Friday, John Mativo allowed Issak 10 days to file the case and serve the clerk of the National Assembly.

Justice Mativo also directed Parliament to file a response within the 10 days. Issak is a big suppliers of construction materials at the Coast, with a hardware in Mombasa.

The committee, in its summons, claims Issak Hardware supplied contractor of the college, Mulji Devraj.

In a letter dated October 12, the committee summoned Issak to appraise it on transactions between his hardware and Mulji Devraj Brothers Limited. The committee wanted Issak to produce purchase orders, delivery notes, invoices, receipts, payment vouchers and any other relevant documents from the period of inception of the project in 2017.

However, Issak, through CLARF executive director Joseph Mukewa, filed for a judicial review before court, seeking to stop the oversight team from summoning and allegedly extorting money.

In the affidavit, Mukewa accuses Parliament and the committee of harassment and extortion attempts while investigating the construction of Ronald Ngala Utalii College.

Section of Ronald Ngala Utalii Collge, Kikambala, Kilifi County. June 2017. [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

On Wednesday, Mativo certified the matter as urgent and allowed Issak Hardware to file a substantive application within 10 days and serve the National Assembly and the Select Committee, who will in turn respond to the application within another 10 days upon service.

However, the Judge declined to temporarily stop the Select Committee from summoning Issak.

Issak Hardware Limited wants the High Court to prohibit the National Assembly and the Parliamentary Select Committee from summoning and extorting monies from him in pretext of seeking information on the contractor of Ronald Ngala Utalii College project. He said his hardware was neither a contractor nor a supplier of the project.

Issak wanted Parliament and the Select Committee stopped from holding a meeting with him. In his application he wants the judge to issue an order quashing the Assembly’s and Select Committee decision to summon him over the construction of the said college.

Mukewa, in a sworn affidavit, said on October 12, the National Assembly and Select Committee summoned the director of Issak Hardware to a session of the Parliamentary Select Committee that was scheduled for October 23.

He said the letter dated September 9 was ambiguous, omnibus and without any specifics on what the session intended to deliberate on.

Mukewa said since the issuance of the aforesaid correspondence, the committee had sent emissaries and made frequent phone calls to the director of the hardware. “The aforesaid approach is not consistent with the process entailed in the investigative mandate of the Parliamentary Select Committee where the Chairperson insists on meeting the person summoned prior to the date of the said meeting,” said Mukewa.

He said there was ulterior motive necessitating the summoning of the Director of Issak Hardware Limited.

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