Court declines Ngiritas plea for access to frozen bank accounts

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020 00:00 |
Phyllis Njeri Ngirita.

Alphonse Mung’ahu

The High Court has dismissed an application by a member of the Ngirita family, who sought to be allowed access to Sh700,000 frozen in an account linked to the National Youth Service (NYS) fraud to reportedly pay her child’s school fees.

Justice Mumbi Ngugi of  Milimani Anti-Corruption Court, while dismissing application by Phyllis Njeri Ngirita said the matter is without merit, and is an abuse of the court process.

Though lawyer Evans Ondieki she had filed application seeking orders to be allowed access of Sh700,000, saying her child had been thrown out of school yet the money was not fraudulently acquired.

But the judge dismissed her plea, saying the application was an abuse of the court process because another case, raising similar issues, was pending before another judge.

“The issues it raises are already before a court of competent jurisdiction, and there is in force an order addressing itself to the subject matter of this application. The application is accordingly dismissed,” ruled Justice Ngugi.

She said that “with the greatest respect to counsel for applicant, the only conclusion that the court can reach in this matter is that the applicant, with the aid of her counsel, was out to hoodwink the court.”

“It is not conduct that the court can condone and counsel on record, who are all officers of the court are reminded of their duty to the court under Section 1A of the Civil Procedure Act to assist the court in reaching a just, expeditious, proportionate and of affordable resolution of the matter,” said the judge.

Mere allegation

Justice Ngugi said the applicant seems to have been operating under the misapprehension that the allegation that the rights  of a child are being violated will move the court to grant orders without inquiring further into the matter.

“It bears reminding parties that while courts consider the interest of children and would like to avoid situations in which they are exposed to hardship, the mere allegation that this is the case is not sufficient to move the court to grant orders in favour of an applicant,” she said.

The judge said the court agreed it is under a constitutional obligation to protect the rights of all to equal protection and benefit of the law guaranteed under Article 27. 

Cannot be hoodwinked

She said it is also agreed the rights of children guaranteed under Article 52 should be protected.

“The court, however, cannot be hoodwinked by this plea to pull the wool over the court’s eyes by filing an application and making absolutely no reference to existing proceedings and orders on the same issue,” said Mumbi.

The account at the Kenya Commercial Bank’s Gilgil branch was frozen in 2018 on suspicion that  Ngirita was involved in corrupt transactions.

But she said the freeze order had caused her hardship and paralysed her children’s education.

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