By PAUL KATANA
Armed police prevented auctioneers from attaching property belonging to assistant minister Marere wa Mwachai.
The attachment order was granted after Ms Mwachai failed to obey a court order to pay more than Sh58,000 to a security guard she had attacked.
Police seized the auctioneers who had loaded a van with the minister's property and held them for four hours while a police chief, a district commissioner and a local councillor frantically tried to stop the property from being attached.
It ended with the councillor, Mr Mohammed Mwachome, paying the Sh58,000 to the auctioneers after hurried consultations with the security guard's lawyer.
According to Mr Johnstone Muli of Kithemu Auctioneers, the firm moved into the minister's house at Msambweni at 10am, where they found her brothers.
The warrant of sale of the property was issued on October 15 this year.
Mr Muli said they gave them the court orders and the warrants to attach the property to recover the money from Ms Mwachai.
"They told us to wait as they went to make a call to inform the minister that we were attaching her property but after half an hour we found armed police officers coming," he said.
Mr Muli said that the police informed them that the area DO, a Mr Ali, wanted to talk to them before executing their work.
He said that they moved to the DO's office and gave him court orders.
"After going through them, the DO said that he had no powers to block court orders but pleaded with us not to attach the property, saying Ms Mwachai was expected this Friday," said Mr Muli.
They then returned to the assistant minister's house and attached the property, loading it into a pick-up and left for Mombasa.
But they were blocked by the Msambweni OCS and detained from 1pm to 5pm as police made frantic efforts to salvage the minister's property.
Sources said that while the auctioneers were being held, the OCS and local councillor Mohammed Mwachome made several moves including calling the Kwale District Commissioner to reach a deal.
Mr Muli however said that the local councillor agreed to pay the money and have Ms Mwachai's property taken back to her house in Msambweni.
"The councillor gave us cash of Sh30,000 and the remaining in a cheque after talking to the security guard's lawyer, Mr Mungatana," he added
He said that the OCS agreed to give them security escort to the minister's house and return the property.
A Mombasa court last month ordered the auctioneer to attach the minister's property for failing to pay damages she caused to security guard Jones Muthini Muyanga.
The MP attacked him when she was barred from visiting her daughter at St Augustine's preparatory school early this year.
This is the second case in a month caused by the minister's failure to pay her debts .
Early this month a Nairobi court ordered her to pay Sh570,000 to a returning officer who oversaw the 1992 general election at Msambweni district, Mr Samson Chibudu, or risk being declared bankrupt.
The debt includes the costs of the suit she filed and lost to challenge the outcome of the first multi-party elections, in which she lost to Mr Kassim Bakari Mwamzandi.