Uganda-based Sarrai Group has until 15th December to know its fate in a contempt of coúrt cáse file against it. The firm is accused of operating in Mumias Sugar Company despite a coúrt order issued in April directing its managers to keep off the sugar miller.
Lady Justice Wilfrida Okwany set the date on Wednesday 7th September, after receiving contempt of coúrt submissions by petitioner’s lawyer, Ms Jackline Kimeto. In the case, the petitioner is accusing Sarrai Group of operating Mumias under the protection of local politicians.
“I am aware that the contemnors have opted to hide behind inflammatory pronouncements of politicians in the hope that they will protect them,” the advocate said in the court document.
On 28th July Justice Okwany directed that personnel of Rai Cement, an affiliate of the Sarrai Group, should not set foot on the miller’s premises until the case lodged in court is heard and determined.
“Pending the hearing and determination of this application, Sarrai Group Limited, its directors, agents, employees, servants, subsidiaries and other affiliates including Mumias Sugar (2021) Limited, Rai Cement Limited be ordered to cease and desist any activity and all activities including the operation of machinery, dismantling, vándalism of machinery, removal of assets, or any other activity of whatever nature stored and situated within the premises of Mumias Sugar Limited,” Justice Wilfrida Okwany directed.
The court further upheld its judgement issued on 14th April 2022 that nullified the lease granted to Sarrai Group on December 22, 2021. “This court issues an order restraining Sarrai Group from and its aforementioned agents or any other agents from commencing, continuing, or undertaking any activity under the lease dated 22nd December, 2021,” the judge stated.
The court also ordered the company to return all the assets belonging to Mumias Sugar Company and directed police to effect it. “The Officer Commanding Mumias Sugar Police Station be and is hereby ordered to facilitate the safe return of all vandalized and looted assets of Mumias Sugar in accordance with these orders,” the judge added.
During the hearing, Khaminwa and Khaminwa Advocates, through lawyer Jackline Chepkemoi Kimeto, had accused Sarrai Group of disobeying the coúrt order. “The continuing contempt of coúrt orders by the contemnors scandalizes and lowers the judicial authority and the dignity of the court,” the lawyer said.
“It is essential for the maintenance of the rule of law and order that the authority and the dignity of the Courts of the Republic of Kenya is upheld at all times and the contemnors blatant disobedience of the orders of the court ought not to be countenanced,” she said during her submissions.
The Uganda-based company did not appeal the court ruling that stopped it from operating the sugar miller. During the hearing, the petitioner presented photo evidence that showed Sarrai Group personnel transporting equipment belonging to Mumias Sugar Company.
The photos presented also showed vandalized equipment, which the lawyer noted was wasting away.