Torture victims owed Sh100m, says Githu

Saturday September 19 2015

Attorney-General Githu Muigai. People who were tortured in the Nyayo House chambers during President Daniel Moi’s regime have been promised compensation unconditionally. FILE  PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Attorney-General Githu Muigai. People who were tortured in the Nyayo House chambers during President Daniel Moi’s regime have been promised compensation unconditionally. FILE PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ELVIS ONDIEKI
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Torture victims of past regimes are owed over Sh100 million in unpaid court awards, Attorney-General Githu Muigai has said.

Prof Muigai noted that the court awards form a considerable portion of the amount that the government plans to pay people who have suffered State-instigated atrocities in post-independent Kenya.

Speaking to the Sunday Nation on Friday, the AG said the State Law Office will also apply for the termination of some court proceedings in torture-related cases against the government. That, he explained, will mean entering out-of-court compensation deals with claimants in cases it adjudges to have merit.

“There are also other claims that have never been the subject of court action but are contained in documented grievances to state agencies. They will also be considered,” he said.

Speaking at Uhuru Park on September 12, Prof Muigai said the government is addressing its own past of human rights violations for the last 50 years. He said victims of the Nyayo House torture chambers would be compensated without any contest.

In this year’s budget, the Treasury gave Sh1 billion to the National Fund for Restorative Justice. The fund is a creation of the Victim Protection Act that President Uhuru Kenyatta assented to in September 2014.

Prof Muigai said that at the moment he cannot tell the exact figure that the government will pay torture victims.

“The awards from courts are worth over Sh100 million. But we cannot tell what the eventual figure will be. All claims in the post-independence period will be considered,” he said.

The Act provided for the creation of the Victims Protection Board to oversee the compensation of torture victims.

In June, Prof Muigai appointed Solicitor-General Njee Muturi to chair the board and Simon Joni Ndubai, Christine Ochieng and Leah Owour as board members.

According to judgments published by the Kenya Law Reports, there are tens of torture victims under the regime of President Daniel Moi who won court cases against the government in their pursuit for compensation.

They include Oduor Ong’wen  who was awarded Sh5 million, James Aggrey Akumu (Sh5m), Wilson Awuor Ang’ong’a (Sh4.5m), Alogo Raila (Sh3.5m), Benjamin Andahi Muhele (Sh2.5m), Gabriel Kariuki Mung’ura (Sh4.5m), Edward Koigi Kariuki (Sh5m), Geoffrey Kuria Kariuki (Sh6.5m), Milton Chege Kimani (Sh6.5m), Gibson Maina Kimani (Sh6.5m) and Robert Buke Wafula (Sh6.5m).

The 11 and 10 others were awarded different amounts in October 2011 by Justice Daniel Musinga, who ruled that their rights were grossly violated in the hands of Special Branch police.

Others are Abuya Abuya (Sh1m), Maurice Justice Adongo (Sh4m), James Omwega Achira (Sh2.5m), Bernard Kihiu Matama (Sh400,000), Dick Joel Omondi (Sh250,000), John Michuki Maina (Sh800,000) and Paul Kamau Waweru (Sh2m).

During his state-of-the-nation address in June, President Kenyatta ordered the Treasury to dedicate Sh10 billion to be accumulated over the next three years to be used for restorative justice.

“This will provide a measure of relief and will underscore my government’s goodwill. I have also established a state department dedicated to strategic initiatives in marginalised and at-risk regions and populations of our country. It is my hope that these measures will go some way to bringing the nation together,” he said.