Former Cabinet minister Cyrus Jirongo is set to be arraigned in court after he was arrested for failing to repay Ksh 20 million owned to businessman Brian Yongo.
Yongo had moved to court after the former Lugari MP only repaid Ksh 5 million of the money advanced to him between 2014 and 2014.
Last month, the High Court ordered Muthangari OCS to arrest Jirongo and avail him in court if he fails to repay the loan as well as the executing officers’ expenses fees.
“These are to command you to arrest the said J/D and unless the sum of Ksh.20 million as noted in the margin, together with the executing officers’ expenses fees. If any, to bring the said debtor before the court with all convenient speed,” the order issued by the High Court deputy registrar read.
It is, however, not clear what action the court would take as Justice Martha Koome had in ruled in 2010 that the six-month civil jail for debt defaulters provided for in law was unconstitutional. She cited Article 11 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Last year, the former MP was adjudged bankrupt after High Court Judge Olga Sewe determined he could not service his debts after failing to pay Ksh 700 million he owes his friend-turned-foe Sammy Boit Kogo.
In the same year, Justice Francis Tuiyot ordered Jirongo to pay Ksh 110 million to Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli after he reneged on repaying a Ksh 100 million friendly loan that was due after 50 days with an interest of Ksh 10 million.
For the former MP, who says he became a billionaire at the age of 30, it is a case of a fall from grace to grass. Though he owns multi-billion properties, he cannot pay his debts, which has dented his image and brought his political career in a fix – at least for now.
A person adjudged bankrupt cannot vie for elections or hold public office. He was able to contest in last year’s repeat presidential election only after appealing Lady Justice Sewe’s declaration.
His hopes of turning around his fortunes by partnering with investors put a residential megacity in Ruai were jolted as the title deed for the land on which the 10,900 housing units are to be built are held by Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation since 1993 over a Ksh 1.1 billion loan Jirongo had taken from Postbank Credit Limited (in liquidation). The loan now stands at over Ksh 20 billion thanks to high interest rates.
Jirongo first came to the national stage as chairman of the shadowy YK’92 lobby that helped former president Moi beat an Opposition onslaught during the first multi-party. Other members of the group, which was disbanded by Moi soon after the elections, included Deputy President William Ruto.
The group was accused of used siphoned public funds and even newly-printed currency to launch a sustained, high profile campaign for Moi.
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Jirongo went on to procure lucrative deals with the government and parastatals such as the National Social Security Fund though his companies such as Offshore Trading Company and Sololo Outlets but he was later immersed in controversy and court battles, which continue to date.