Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is now seeking an out-of-court settlement in its dispute with a freight firm belonging to Governor Hassan Joho’s family.
Autoports Freight Terminal moved to court seeking orders to reverse KPA’s January 21 decision to suspend it from receiving containers from the port of Mombasa.
Also suspended was Portside Freight Terminal, also owned by the governor’s family.
On Tuesday, KPA, through lawyer Nani Mungai, said it is exploring the out-of-court option, because they want an amicable solution to the dispute.
Mr Mungai said they will seek a meeting with the lawyers and officials from the freight firm over the matter before they return to court on Friday.
Auotoports lawyers Paul Buti and Mr Mohamed Balala did not object to KPA’s application.
However, they sought time to consult their clients before making a decision on the application.
KPA Managing Director Gichiri Ndua wrote the letter suspending nomination of containers to the freight stations.
However, the High Court later suspend the directive and ordered KPA to file its papers explaining its actions within 21 days.
KPA was barred from enforcing the decision until the case is determined.
The court allowed Autoports to apply for an order to prohibit KPA, its servants, agents, employees or any persons under its instructions from interfering with its operations.
In addition, the High Court allowed the firm to apply for an order compelling KPA to continue performing its duty of nominating containers to the stations.
“Leave is hereby granted to the applicant to apply for an order to compel the respondent or other persons acting pursuant to its instructions to perform their duties as customs officers as mandatorily required,” read part of the order issued on February 1.
Containers Freights Stations (CFS), also known as inland ports, receive import and export goods on KPA’s behalf on contract from the latter.
There are 24 CFSs in Kenya, most of them in Mombasa. The two belonging to Mr Joho’s family employ about 1,200 people and jointly handle goods worth over Sh1 billion annually.
Another station, Portside Freight Terminals Limited, on February 1, obtained orders putting on hold a decision by Kenya Revenue Authority suspending its license to operate as customs bonded cargo handling facility.
The station was also allowed to apply for an order to prohibit KRA from carrying out searches, requesting for bank statements, seizures and other related activities unless authorized by court.
Container Freight Stations Association of Kenya has also opposed the closures.