Court cautions PCEA officials against disregarding orders over ongoing church wrangles

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 22 May, 2024 17:12 | 3 mins read
A PCEA church in Ruai. PHOTO/

The High Court now wants top PCEA officials to obey court orders and enforce court instructions on the ongoing wrangles over the installation of David Nderitu Ndumo as Treasurer of the church.

On Wednesday, May 22, 2024, Judge Asenath Ongeri issued a stern warning to the officials of the church during the mention of a case where Njoroge Mburu sued two PCEA Church executives for disregarding her orders stopping the installation of Ndumo as Honorary Treasurer of the PCEA.

"This court won't take lightly anyone who disregards the court orders, I warn the parties and people who disobey court orders from doing so. I must say that a message must be sent to teach those who dare, a lesson. I understand there is a purge of contempt but I don't want to say anything. I want to deal with people who disrespect the court," Ongeri stated.

The judge went ahead and set July 10, 2024, as the date to hear the contempt case against PCEA Moderator Patrick Thegu Mutahi and the Church's Secretary General Patrick Waihenya saying it is time at least one individual is punished to serve as a message that Court orders are not optional but mandatory.

"Since the respondents (Mutahi and Waihenya) were members of the clergy, l draw the parallels with the Biblical story of Ananias and his wife Saphira who perished for disobeying authorities," the judge said.

The two (Mutahi and Waihenya) are alleged to have disobeyed court orders issued on April 8, 2024, when judge Ongeri barred them from installing Ndumo as the church's treasurer.

Mburu says Mutahi and Waihenya violated the court orders and went ahead to swear in Ndumo as the Treasurer on April 9, 2024, in an event that was graced by President William Ruto and his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua.

Mburu says that the two church leaders were expected to have obeyed the court orders immediately after they were served with the same and following Reverend Timothy Njoya of Presbyterian Church’s decision to storm out of the event in protest over the illegal installation of Ndumo during the event that was held at St Andrews Church in Nairobi County.

Justice Ongeri had issued orders barring Reverends Mutahi and Waiheya who are the Moderator and Secretary General of the PECA church respectively from swearing in Ndumo as the Treasurer after Benjamin Njoroge Mburu a member of the PCEA in Kikuyu Town petitioned the Milimani High Court challenging the nominations of Ndumo as the church official since he has a case pending in court for defaulting to pay a loan of Ksh7.4 Million owed to Sheria Sacco.

"David Nderitu Ndumo is tainted by the Tribunal Suit, indebtedness, dishonesty and lack of accountability towards the fifteen (15) claimants who guaranteed his loan facility and thus is incapable of offering the Plaintiff and the Church reasonable or quality services as Honorary Treasurer," the petition filed in court states.

Mburu told the judge that Ndumo is a judgment-debtor and is indebted to the 15 claimants including Juma Olago, Charles Maina, Jane Njoroge and Benjamin Ombogo in Nairobi, Cooperative Tribunal Case Number 727 of 2019.

The court papers state that the 15 guarantors sued Ndumo on November 28, 2019, stating that he borrowed various loans from Sheria Sacco between March 14 and August 7, 2018, amounting to Ksh5.8 million.

However, Ndumo has completely failed to service the loan despite several demands, forcing the guarantors to repay the money.

The petitioner now says that the nomination and recommendation for the appointment of Ndumo was murky and inconsistent with the Nomination Committee's and Business Committee's previous practice and policy of rejecting persons involved in court disputes for appointment into office.

"For instance, on December 11, 2014 the Business Committee declined the nomination of Rev. Francis Njoroge as Moderator of the General Assembly for being a director of Milele Ventures Limited which had been sued by Kambui Presbytery," Mburu informed the court.

He adds that the installation of Ndumo as Honorary Treasurer during the proceedings of PCEA's Twenty Fourth (24th) General Assembly violates the PCEA's officials' election and nomination policy; the Constitution of PCEA; Section 23 of the Societies Act; and the Plaintiff's right to access services of reasonable quality from the holder of Honorary Treasurer office.

He now wants the court to declare that the nomination and recommendation for the appointment of David Nderitu Ndumo as Honorary Treasurer of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) was in violation of the Constitution of PCEA, PCEA's officials' elections policy and the Societies Act.

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