Court gives KNCCI President Richard Ngatia last warning over contempt

by Wakili Liam
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Richard Ngatia, President Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI)

There’s an ongoing case between KNCCI President Richard Ngatia and KNCCI chairman for Wajir Abdirahman Mohamed Abdille over leadership.

Mohamed Abdille wants wants Ngatia found guilty of disobeying court issued on May 7, 2019, barring him from effecting any changes of chamber officials in Wajir pending the hearing of a case he filed.

Despite numerous summons, Ngatia has failed to appear in court and as such High Court has given one last time appear in court and respond to the contempt proceedings filed against by the KNCCI chair for Wajir.

Justice Joseph Sergon on Thursday said that Ngatia or his lawyer failed to show up for a virtual hearing, he gave a final date to allow him to mitigate for disobeying court orders issued on May 7, 2019.

The judge directed the case to be mentioned on July 29 before he can rule on the matter.

In court documents, Justice James Makau had issued a temporary injunction barring any changes at the Wajir branch after the abortive elections of April 25, 2019.

“That on June 19, 2019, the president of KNCCI Richard Ngatia in violation of the court order wrote to the governor of the then Wajir Mohammed Abdi Mohamud purportedly introducing new officials of Wajir county chapter of the chamber,” read the court papers.

Abdille claims that he remains the incumbent chairman of KNCCI in Wajir by virtue of the court order.

Through lawyer Ochieng Ogutu,  Abdille also accused Ngatia of blocking him from accessing the county chamber website by changing the county password and giving it to Abdullahi Abdi Hersi.

Abdille moved to court in July 2019 to block elected officials of the 47 Counties Chapters of the KNCCI from assuming office over alleged electoral malpractices.

In his petition, Abdille argues that only five chapters did proper elections while the remaining 42 were riddled with numerous electoral malpractices as ineligible candidates and unlisted members were allowed to take part in the elections.

Abdille stated that Wajir County presented five candidates all vying for the third time for positions they held for the last two terms contrary to KNCCI electoral rules.

According to the petitioner, the elections created a stalemate and disagreement amongst the 349 listed members hence causing chaos during the elections.

Abdille sought to have the candidate elected for the national director for North Eastern region in the concluded KNCCI elections barred from assuming office and change of officials of Wajir County KNNCI stopped from being made until the suit is heard and determined

He adds that in February and March 2020 the president of the chamber facilitated the opening of a bank account with National bank Wajir branch for the officials purported elections is being challenged in court in violation of the court order. Ngatia is said to be one of the signatories of the account.

Abdille has further accused the president of the chamber of opening a parallel office for the new officials whose election has been challenged in court.

“Ngatia willfully and deliberately disobeyed, breached, violated, and ignored the court order and is in contempt of the same and should be punished accordingly,” Abdille said.

He says that punishing Ngatia for contempt of court will safeguard and preserve the integrity and authority of the court and the entire judiciary in the administration of justice.

The newly elected officials Kenya National Chamber of Commerce Hersi, Dahaba Hussein Madey, Haredha Hussein Abdirahman, Alasa Sigar Hussein, Salatha Abdullahi Hassan, and Halima Abdi Abdille are cited as interested parties in the contempt case.

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