The High Court on Tuesday dropped contempt of court charges against Meru Deputy Governor Titus Ntuchiu and County Secretary Rufus Miriti after they explained circumstances that led then to twice skip court proceedings.
Meru Resident Judge Alfred Mabeya, however, warned the officials that the consequences for contempt of court were severe and apply equally everyone.
The judge saved the two from the embarrassment of standing in the dock and allowed them to give explanations just next to where the lawyers sit.
Mr Ntuchiu, who is also the county Finance minister said his failure to attend was not disrespectful but that he was caught up in the budget-making process and had sent the Finance chief officer, who is the accounting officer to represent him.
On the other hand, Mr Miriti said he skipped court because he was indisposed and had an appointment with his doctor.
“The court accepts the explanation and the apology offered. I believe there was no intention to treat the court in contempt. However, I would warn you. You know you are not only senior citizens but also senior officials of this government. You are supposed to lead by example by obeying court process if you want others to obey,” he said.
The two had been summoned to explain why the government had failed to pay Sh144 million compensation to Nice Rice Millers company, whose director Charles Njiru was beaten up by county officials and his goods destroyed in 2015.
On Tuesday, Mr Ntuchiu and Mr Njiru said they had entered a consent where Mr Njiru had agreed to take Sh130 million by end of the year and spare the government any accruing interest.
However, Mr Ntuchiu said they would have to request the county assembly for a supplementary budget in order to offset the debt.