Former Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo has run into more trouble after the High Court found that he is personally liable to pay Sh110 million to Cotu boss Francis Atwoli.
A different court recently found Mr Jirongo unable to pay a Sh700 million debt and allowed an application that he be declared bankrupt.
On Thursday, Justice Francis Tuiyot ruled that the former presidential candidate had, in an agreement entered into with Mr Atwoli, who had advanced him a Sh100 million friendly loan, accepted that the Cotu boss could enforce repayment against him personally, plus Sh10 million interest.
Mr Jirongo had in court papers admitted receiving Sh100 million last August from Mr Atwoli, which was payable in 50 days, with an additional Sh10 million interest.
The former influential Nyayo-era politician, however, stated that the agreement had provided that the money would be recovered from money the Nairobi City County owes his company, Kuza Farms and Allied Ltd. He wanted Mr Atwoli to wait until the company is paid, or the Cotu boss to go after the county.
Justice Tuiyot in his ruling dismissed that line of argument saying: “In the face of the unequivocal acceptance of August 10, 2016, by Mr Jirongo to be personally liable for the advanced sums, he cannot shift liability to Kuza.”
The judge also observed that Mr Jirongo acknowledges that the sums were advanced to him and that he bore the responsibility of repaying Sh110 million on or before October 21, 2016.
That date has since passed, but Mr Jirongo has not paid up, hence the case filed by Mr Atwoli against him to recover the debt. “Mr Jirongo’s indebtness was plain and obvious in the acknowledgment and undertaking of August 10, 2016.
It was even more obvious and unequivocal when Mr Jirongo gave further undertaking of October 21, 2016. This court holds and finds that Mr Jirongo has admitted owing Sh110 million to Mr Atwoli and there can be no defence to that claim,” said Justice Tuiyot.
Mr Atwoli was also seeking to be paid damages for breach of contract. The judge, however, said that there has been no attempt to prove it and that it is a matter that must await full trial.
The Cotu secretary-general’s other claim of interest at 25 per cent with effect from August 10, 2016 will also have to await full trial.
Justice Tuiyot said that in the undertaking of August 10, 2016, Mr Jirongo had covenanted to pay interest at the rate of 25 per cent per annum in the event of default. However, the issue of interest was conspicuously left out in the subsequent document.