Kenya Power Ordered to Pay Maimed Girl Joy Mukami Sh22 Million

13 October 2021

Kenya Power has lost an appeal and will have to pay Sh22 million to a teenager whose hands were amputated after she touched a live electricity wire four years ago and was electrocuted.

A bench of three Court of Appeal judges dismissed Kenya Power's appeal, saying that given the child's condition after the injuries, the issue of unjust enrichment or overcompensation does not arise.

Kenya Power wanted the award reduced, arguing that it was excessive and the girl - Joy Mukami - should have taken 20 per cent liability because she was not careful while picking firewood.

"No amount of money could ever restore the child to her previous condition. No sufficient reason has been given to warrant interference with that award and therefore that ground fails," justices Roselyn Nambuye, Wanjiru Karanja and Patrick Kiage said.

The girl was out collecting firewood in Luthie village, Meru County, on August 28, 2017 when she touched a live electric wire on the ground and was electrocuted. Her mother, Ambrusina Makena Kiulio, sued the utility company for negligence.

Electrocuted

Kenya Power denied the claim and contended that the girl was wholly to blame or substantially contributed to the accident. The company denied that the child was electrocuted by a live electric wire, and if she was, it was because of her negligence.

But the child's mother produced several documents, including medical receipts amounting to Sh526,160, a birth certificate, a letter from her area chief and letters from hospitals they visited.

On pain and suffering, they had asked the appellate court to enhance the Sh4 million award, saying it was inadequate because the girl lost both hands, suffered burns on her legs, spent eight months in hospital and is entirely reliant on a helper as she is 100 per cent disabled.

The three judges faulted Kenya Power, saying the company failed to call a witness to testify and debunk the figures quoted by the girl's mother based on information from an expert on prosthesis with Ottobock, a German company.

Sh16.5 million award

"They did not file any document to disprove the claim that the figures proposed excluded transportation and shipping costs. They did not call a witness who would have rebutted the contents of the said report, nor did the appellant provide the trial court with an alternative document to compare with the documents whose contents they are now challenging," the judges noted.

The judges also rejected a bid to overturn Sh16.5 million awarded to the girl for future medical expenses, saying that she requires additional medical care.

Other than the money for future medical expenses, Justice Alfred Mabeya had given the girl Sh4 million for general damages, Sh556,160 for special damages and Sh1 million for loss of earning capacity.

"We are satisfied that given the circumstances of the matter and all the material placed before the learned judge, he arrived at a fair and just decision and we have no reason to interfere with (it)," the judges said.

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