Judge summons KPA chief in Joho firm row

Lawyer says Freight Terminal Ltd using court to secure handling of cargo.

Friday March 25 2016

The acting managing director Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Catherine Mturi addressing the press on March 1, 2016 at the facility's offices in Mombasa. KPA on April 4, 2016 warned the public against fraudsters advertising non-existent vacancies at the organisation. FILE PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The acting managing director Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Catherine Mturi addressing the press on March 1, 2016 at the facility's offices in Mombasa. KPA on April 4, 2016 warned the public against fraudsters advertising non-existent vacancies at the organisation. FILE PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PHILIP MUYANGA
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Kenya Ports Authority’s acting managing director has been summoned by the High Court to explain why she should not be committed to civil jail for contempt.

Justice Anyara Emukule on Thursday said Ms Catherine Mturi should explain why KPA did not comply with an order requiring it to nominate Portside Freight Terminal Limited — a company associated with Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho — to handle freight.

In January, KPA was temporarily barred from suspending the firm from handling containers.

But the judge exonerated KPA head of litigation and disputes Addraya Dena, saying there was evidence that the legal department advised the authority to comply with the order.

“Since the reasons given by the respondent for the non-nomination are unfounded, it is my finding that KPA deliberately continued to withhold the nominations in defiance of the order,” Justice Emukule said.

The judge added that KPA did not allow normal operations to resume at the company even after being served with a court order.

“There appears to be a deliberate and well-calculated move by KPA to continue with the suspension of containers to the CFS and to hamper truck movement from the port to the freight station while citing baseless reasons,” he said.

He added that before the order was served, there were regular nominations of the containers to the company.

KPA suffered another setback when the judge dismissed its application seeking to set aside the order granted in favour of the freight station.

He said the decision to grant leave to start judicial review remedies was purely the judge’s discretion.

“The respondent has not shown sufficient cause why the judge’s discretion should be interfered with,” Justice Emukule added.

The company filed an application seeking to have Ms Mturi and Ms Dena summoned to court to give reasons why they should not be jailed for disobeying court orders.

During the hearing, KPA claimed the freight station wanted to use the court so as to be nominated to handle cargo every week.

Through lawyer Nani Mungai, KPA said the purpose of the case by the firm was to secure weekly nomination, contrary to the licensing agreement.

Mr Mungai said there had been no contempt of court against KPA officials.

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