The High Court in Meru has ordered Meru Deputy Governor Titus Ntuchiu and County Secretary Rufus Miriti to appear in court after they failed to attend a contempt case over a Sh144million debt on Friday.
Justice Mr Alfred Mabeya said they must appear in court in person to explain why they had not paid Nice Rice Millers after county employees destroyed his rice wagons and gods in 2015 and was awarded compensation.
Mr Charles Njiru, the director of Nice Rice Millers, had sued the county government after county employees destroyed his rice wagons and merchandise in 2015 and was granted Sh138million compensation.
Lawyer Munga Kibanga, who is representing the county government had explained that Mr Ntuchiu, who is also the county Finance Executive, was away on official duties while Mr Miriti was indisposed.
However, Justice Mabeya said contempt proceedings were personal in nature and the two were supposed to be physically present in court so that they can personally explain the accusations.
He noted that a letter purportedly indicating that Mr Miriti had an appointment with a doctor had a date in July, while the name indicated was Joseph Miriti and not Rufus.
“It is mandatory that the persons being cited for contempt, not only be served personally with the motion for contempt, but they must also personally attend court at the hearing of such motion.
“The second respondent (Mr Ntuchiu) has not only failed to appear in court in a contemptuous manner, but has also sent an assistant. Contemt proceedings are personal in nature, there is no-one is too important that he is unreachable by law. Court processes must be obeyed by all, both the mighty and the weak.
“This court frowns upon the conduct of the two respondents, I have been asked to issue a warrants for their arrest, however, I will give them a chance as the court expects them to be civil, and men of dignity,” he ruled.
He noted that the two senior officials had earlier failed to show up for another hearing, and had personally asked the court to allow them to appear Friday.
Friday, lawyer Magee wa Magee had asked the court to cite the two for contempt.