Governor Joho might be going to jail.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho risks going to jail for six months after his application seeking to set aside a court’s ruling, which cited him and an MCA for contempt, was dismissed.
The ruling, which was delivered electronically on Wednesday, means that the court will go ahead with sentencing Mr Joho and Changamwe MCA Bernard Ogutu whom it found guilty of disobeying court orders.
The court had issued a temporary suspension of sentence hearing pending a hearing of the application by Mr Joho seeking to set aside the orders citing him for contempt.
Justice Sila Munyao of the Environment and Land Court in Mombasa said he found no merit in the application by Mr Joho and dismissed it with costs.
The court was not persuaded:
I’m not persuaded by the arguments raised in the application that Mr Joho was not served with the application dated May 17 2019 (seeking to show cause why he should not be committed to civil jail) or was not aware of it and that he did not participate in it.
Governor actively participated in the application.
He further said the Mombasa Governor actively participated in the application through the county attorney, which is an office within the county government of Mombasa.
Justice Munyao said in his ruling that he did not think it can be argued that the Governor cannot be held liable for acts of disobedience of county employees unless he shows that they (employees) acted against instructions thus were on their own and needed to be dealt with separately from the county government.
Is is it deprivation?
In his application for setting aside the court’s ruling, Mr Joho argued that substantial loss will be occasioned to him if the order of stay and free bond are not granted as it involves deprivation of his personal liberty.
Through Balala and Abed Advocates, the Mombasa governor said he has never been served with any decree or order alleged to have been in contempt of, thus he was not aware of the said orders.
Part of the application by Mr Joho stated
The applicant (Mr Joho) is not disrespectful of the court nor does he intend to disobey any court orders and is requesting the court to allow this application for setting aside the ruling of this court.
Mombasa businessman Ashok Doshi and his wife Pratibha had filed an application seeking to have Mr Joho and the MCA cited for contempt of court for disobeying a court order restraining the county government of Mombasa from trespassing on a parcel of land belonging to them.
Mr Doshi and his wife wanted the Governor and the MCA summoned to court to show cause why they should not be committed to civil jail for six months for disobeying court orders.
In citing the governor for contempt, Justice Munyao had ruled that Mr Joho is the chief executive of the county government hence he cannot escape responsibility for acts of disobedience.
Justice Munyao said:
Mr Joho has not denied that he was on the suit property neither has he denied inciting the persons present to undertake acts of vandalism complained of.
In their main suit, the plaintiffs (Mr Doshi and his wife) are also seeking a permanent injunction to restrain the county government and Mr Ogutu or any person acting for them from demolishing the perimeter wall or any other structure erected on the land.
The plaintiffs also argue that the allegations that the land was grabbed from a school are baseless because the title and ownership of the previous owner from whom they purchased it from had been affirmed by various courts.
The case will be mentioned on May 27 for directions.