Freight stations plan to sue KRA boss over contempt

The firms said if the KRA boss is unhappy with the court order, he has the right to make an appeal, but not to ignore it.

Saturday February 6 2016

Kenya Revenue Authority commissioner general John Njiraini addresses participants during customs progressive engagement on International Customs Day on January 26, 2016 in Nairobi. Two firms linked with Hassan Joho plan to sue the taxman over contempt. PHOTO | JAMES EKWAM | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kenya Revenue Authority commissioner general John Njiraini addresses participants during customs progressive engagement on International Customs Day on January 26, 2016 in Nairobi. Two firms linked with Hassan Joho plan to sue the taxman over contempt. PHOTO | JAMES EKWAM | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PHILIP MUYANGA
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Two container freight stations associated with the family of Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho plan to commence contempt proceedings against Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner-General John Njiraini.

Through Ahmednasir, Abdikadir and Company Advocates, Autoports Freight Limited and Portside Freight Terminals Limited said if Mr Njiraini fails to comply with a court order issued in their favour, they will file a constitutional reference petitioning the High Court to remove him from office.

“You must appreciate that you will personally face that consequence,” says a letter from the law firm to Mr Njiraini.

On Monday, the court put on hold a decision by the KRA suspending the freight stations’ licences to engage in customs-bonded cargo handling.

“Unless you allow our clients to resume operations within the next 24 hours, our further instructions are to commence contempt proceedings,” says the letter dated February 5.

The lawyers further said despite having full knowledge of the court order, Mr Njiraini has continuously disobeyed it by stopping their clients from resuming operations as directed.

RESPECT COURT ORDERS

The law firm further said Mr Njiraini is expected to abide by the Constitution and respect court orders.

The container freight stations said if the KRA boss is unhappy with the court order, he has the right to make an appeal, but not to ignore it.

The High Court in Mombasa allowed the freight stations to apply for a directive prohibiting the taxman from harassing the companies’ shareholders, directors and their family members.

They were also allowed to apply for an order barring the revenue collector from carrying out searches and demanding bank statements, among other activities, unless authorised by the court.

Lawyer for Autoports Freight Dennis Mosota said: “As a public officer of his stature, Mr Njiraini does not have the luxury to elect which order he is to obey and which one to disobey. An order is an order and must be obeyed no matter how much you are aggrieved with it.”

“The wanton and arbitrary acts of the likes of Mr Njiraini are largely to blame for the steadily diminishing trust in the courts system.

“And they must be stopped. Only courts can stop them,” Mr Mosota added.

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