Kenya: Matatu Owner Faces Auction Over Failure to Pay Sh21 Million to Injured Passenger

The owner of a matatu that injured a passenger in an accident over eight years ago now risks having his property worth Sh21 million auctioned after failing to compensate the victim as ordered by court.

On November 3, 2020, the vehicle's owner was directed to deposit Sh5 million as security and then pay the rest of the money in instalments. But he has now told a Nyeri court that he is unable to raise the deposit.

Appearing before High Court Judge Abigail Mshila, Mr Noor Ahmed Hari, through his lawyer, Delroy Mwasaru, pleaded with the court to allow him to substitute the amount with a car log book valued at Sh5.7 million.

Covid-19 effects

He said that he could not afford to raise the deposit as ordered by the court due to the hard economic times occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The applicant is a businessman who is reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and is currently struggling to keep his businesses [running]," said Mr Mwasaru.

On November 3, 2020 Justice Mshila had issued orders directing the Mombasa-based businessman to deposit Sh5 million to Mr Samuel Ongweso's account within seven days.

Paralysed

Mr Ongweso moved to court after Mr Hari's driver, Mr John Kariuki, crashed a matatu along Karatina-Mukurweini road in Nyeri on October 12, 2012 leaving his son, Kevin Ombagi, paralysed.

He sought reimbursement for the expenses the family incurred for their son's treatment who was then a student at the United States International University (USIU). He also cited that as a result of the accident, Ombagi's education had been cut short.

On Wednesday, Mr Ongweso, through lawyer Ngugi Arati, told the court that Mr Hari had failed to comply with the interim orders issued last year.

Lawyer Arati said that they were not aware, and had not been served with the application seeking to replace the security amount with the vehicle's log book.

"We still have an order of decree allowing us to auction the applicant's [property] if he does not comply with the softer measures we are currently undertaking," said the lawyer.

Justice Mshila directed Ongweso's family to respond to the application on the substitution of the security, upon being served, within 14 days.

Attach properties

Eight years after the accident, the complainant, through his lawyer, obtained an execution of decree from the court allowing him to attach properties worth Sh21 million belonging to Mr Hari's business, Blay Energy Limited.

Mr Hari has also since filed a suit against his insurer, Invesco Assurance Company Limited, and the Insurance Regulatory Authority as the first and second respondents. He wants his insurer's operating licence cancelled, citing bankruptcy, after Invesco was unable to cover him for the accident.

He also wants the regulatory body prompted to nullify Invesco's activities due to its bankruptcy.

The case continues on April 29.

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