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Total Energies to pay businessman Sh4 million

Business
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Total Energies will now pay a businessman Sh4 million after the High Court declined to give them 21 days to comply with an earlier directive.

Justice Freda Mugambi declined the application by its lawyers that sought an extension after failing to pay businessman Ernest Mwaura in the agreed time.

According to the Judge, Total’s application lacked merit and the matter was well heard and determined.

“The long and short of this is that the application dated December 21, 2023, is dismissed with cost to the respondent,” she said.

The judge faulted Total for failing to attach evidence showing that they reached out to Mwaura or his lawyers to open the agreed bank account or explain why they could not comply with the court's directive.

She added that Total had tabled an email in court to show that they were negotiating with Mwaura geared towards a full and final settlement of the matter.

“The email refers to the negotiations that had allegedly taken place via a text. Proof of such other means of communication have not been provided as evidence that the applicant was engaged in such negotiations and is therefore difficult for this court to come to a finding that there were indeed such negotiations between the parties," she said.

Total was directed to pay Mwaura on November 10, 2023, by S.A. Opande of the Magistrate’s court but appealed the decision at the High Court, where they sought stay orders until the hearing of the appeal.

They were to open an interest account where the money would be deposited.

The company obtained orders suspending the execution of the directive and was given 21 days to negotiate and agree on payment but it did not happen, hence they went to court seeking a further 21 days to comply.

They supported the application by an annex affidavit of Boniface Abana, their Legal Manager, sworn on December 21, 2023.

In response, Mwaura objected to the application urging to strike out the application on grounds that the same court had already determined it on November 10, 2023.

“The appellant applied for a stay of execution which I object to. In a considered decision, this court allowed the stay on condition that the appellant deposits a sum of Sh. 4 million in an interest-earning account in the joints names of counsel on record,” said Mwaura.

He denied ever engaging the company, adding that Total had not attached the internal approvals they faced while opening the account.

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