Day of reckoning for KTDA directors’ as court set November 15Th as hearing date for contempt of court case

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Kenya Tea Development Agency CEO Lerionka Tiampati. PHOTO/COURTESY

By ABDULHAKIM SHERMAN

newsdesk@reporter.co.ke

A case in which directors of the Kenya Tea Development Agency have been sued for contempt of court is set to heard on November 15.

The KTDA directors sued for contempt include Stephen Githiga, Eston Gikoreh, Peter Kinyua, Francis Macharia, KTDA managing director-Leriorka Tiampati, KTDA chairman-Peter Kanyago, Philip Ngetich, Joseph Wakamani, Erastus Gakuya, Benson Ngare, Alfred Njagi, Arthur Rimberia and company secretary John Omanga.

The contempt of court proceedings have been postponed on several occasions since the matter was taken to the Court of Appeal in December 2017 due to various reasons.

Directors of a breakaway group of the troubled Kiru Tea Factory in Murang’a and those from KTDA risk facing punishment for orchestrating the removal of the plant’s chairman, Chege Kirundi, against court orders.

The Deputy Registrar of the High Court issued a notice on October 11, that the Court of Appeal will hear contempt proceedings against the directors for allegedly disobeying court orders issued in December 2017  stopping the removal or replacement of Mr Kirundi.

“This application will be heard Thurday the 15Th day of November, 2018 at 9.30am or so soon after as maybe convenient, and that if any party shall fail to appear whether in person or by an advocate or by some other person authorized by law to appear on his behalf, the application may be heard and determined in his,” says the court notice.

The KTDA directors including CEO Lerionka Tiampati and Kennedy Omanga (company secretary) and some directors of Kiru Tea failed in May this year to terminate contempt proceedings.

The 8,000-member Kiru Tea Factory has been embroiled in a dispute since the suspension of the director, Stephen Maina Githiga. The fight forced the KTDA to intervene.

Mr Kirundi and his allies, who are facing rebellion from Mr Githiga’s group, had secured an injunction blocking the KTDA Holdings Ltd and KTDA Management Services Ltd from interfering with the leadership of the factory.

While issuing the orders last year, the judges noted that the Kiru directors were involved in a war of attrition, with each side trying to ensure that its candidate holds sway as the company secretary.

Shareholders opposed Mr Githiga’s stay at the firm, arguing that his position at the factory became invalid after Sasini hired him as group managing director in January last year, adding that he could not sit on boards of two firms that deal in tea.

Mr Githiga was in February ousted following an extraordinary meeting, which the KTDA declared unprocedural.

The High Court in December rejected Mr Githiga’s plea to stop Kiru from axing him and ruled that the disputes be settled in the boardroom, setting the stage for his ejection.

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