NAIROBI: A motorist sued a motor vehicle insurer for Sh10 million after reporting that his car had been hit by a buffalo. The court awarded him Sh2 million.
But the Court of Appeal quashed the judgement in which Prudential Assurance Company had been ordered to pay Sukhwinder Singh Jutley Sh2 million.
The court found that Mr Jutley had secured the award after giving false testimony and thus quashed the entire judgement in favour of the insurance company.
Jutley claimed to have been travelling with his family to Nakuru, where the vehicle he was driving was hit by a buffalo. However, those who testified before the court as first witnesses said that although the car had an accident, they never saw it hit a buffalo.
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Judges Riaga Omolo, Phillip Tunoi and Erastus Githinji found in their judgement dated February 9, 2007 that the man had created a fictional story.
“From our own independent analysis of the evidence, it is apparent that the accident of crashing into a buffalo by the respondent in his car during the evening of May 18, 1993 did not happen at all and is a mere concoction by him. It is more likely that the respondent and his family were involved in an accident on May 3, 1993, which involved hitting some stone or rigid object and as a result, they were mildly injured.”
“The medical testimony also shows that the injuries suffered by the respondent are to say the least, inconsistent with those consonant to an animal impact accident,” the court ruled.
Singh had suffered minor injuries but the three judges noted he did not provide a medical report to prove he was treated at Nakuru Hospital on the material night.
“In the circumstances therefore, we have no hesitation in holding that the alleged accident never occurred on the date in question and the injuries, if any, to the respondent were not as a result of any accident on the material date.”
“It is of course well-established that an appellate court should not lightly differ from a finding of fact by a court of first instance and as a general rule should not interfere with such a finding unless it can be shown that the judge has drawn a wrong inference from the proved facts, or has misdirected himself on the facts, or has failed to take into account some material fact,” the judgement read in part.