KTDA Directors Set To Appear In Court Next Month For Sentencing Over Court Contempt

by Mahakamani News
Kenya Tea Development Agency CEO Lerionka Ole Tiampati

The appellate court has thrown out an application by directors of Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) led by Chief Executive Officer Lerionka Ole Tiampati, seeking a review of a decision that found them guilty of contempt of court.

Others who had sought a review are former Company Secretary John Omanga and four directors of Kiru Tea Factory.

A three-member bench said the aggrieved officials had not demonstrated or placed new compelling reasons to nullify the February 22 decision that found them guilty of disobedience of court orders.

The directors had been stopped from interfering with the leadership and management of the 8,000-member Kiru Tea Factory in Murang’a County.

The six are required to appear before Justices William Ouko, Fatuma Sichale and Otieno Odek on Thursday April 4, for sentencing.

“The court will not entertain deliberate waste of precious judicial time meant to delay, derail or scuttle the determination of the contempt proceedings,” the Judges said.

A similar application to terminate the proceedings was dismissed on May 14, last year.

The six officials had flouted sanctions imposed on December 6 and 21, 2017 against KTDA Holdings and KTDA Management Services from conducting any meetings or causing the nomination of directors of the factory pending an appeal challenging the alleged ouster of its Chairman Chege Kirundi and Company Secretary Bernard Kiragu.

The court directed Tiampati, Omanga, Stephen Githiga, Easton Gakungu, Peter Kinyua and Francis Macharia to present themselves in court on April 4 for mitigation and sentencing. They are at liberty to file sworn defence statements.

Lawyers Waweru Gatonye and Benson Milimo applied for more time to enable them prepare affidavits on behalf of the six officials. Senior Counsel Paul Muite and lawyer Kithinji Marete adopted their statements demanding six-month imprisonment for each of the officials.

In the protracted case, Kirundi and his allies, who are facing rebellion from the Githiga group, had secured an injunction stopping interference with the giant factory’s leadership. Kirundi and co-directors Kiragu, John Ngari (Vice-Chairman) and Christopher Mwangi (Auditor) have accused their rivals of trying to paralyse operations of the firm at the behest of powerful individuals who are seeking control of the tea industry in the region.

The Appellate bench had observed that KTDA-HC and KTDA-MS appeared intent on Omanga’s nomination to replace Kiragu and the rivalry between the warring parties was likely to cause considerable harm to the farming community. Omanga was reportedly removed from the Kiru board on September 11, 2017 and replaced by Kiragu.

High Court Judge Msagha-Mbogholi had affirmed Githiga’s suspension by the Kiru board on April 28, 2017 on grounds that he had not exhausted the legal disciplinary machinery provided by law.

He was reportedly sacked because of conflict of interest arising from his appointment to head a private large-scale firm in January 2017.


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