By Mathew Ndung’u.
A 70-year-old man who went bankrupt after the defunct Maragua county council confiscated goods from his business premise in 2005 can now sigh with relief.
His troubles were lessened after he was authorised to sell two vehicles belonging to Murang’a County government.
A Thika court gave Ndwiga Njagi the right to sell the vehicles–– a Toyota Fortuner of registration number 21CG004A and Ford Ecosport 21CG027A— both valued at Sh4.7 million. One of the vehicles was assigned to county secretary Patrick Mukuria.
The two vehicles, which have already been advertised for sale in local dailies, were auctioned after the county failed to pay Njagi Sh4.4 million in damages.
The old man’s business was raided by officials of the defunct civic unit in 2005 over alleged theft of murrum belonging to the council. He had used the murrum to level the entrance to his shop.
The officers seized four sewing machines, pair of scissors, two bicycles and stock from his business. Njagi’s wife divorced him after the raid while his children dropped out of school.
“I fruitlessly sought return of my tools of work. The council, however, remained adamant that they wouldn’t return the items until I got tired and filed a case in court,” he said.
In 2010, a Thika court ordered the council to return the items but they defied the order. Njagi’s lawyer filed another case accusing the council of violating court orders and the court ordered return of the items.
The council later appealed the ruling of the Thika court at a High Court in Nairobi and in 2015, the court overturned their plea and ordered it to return the items and pay Njagi Sh15,000.
Transition to county governments further derailed his payment forcing him to seek fresh orders for payment of damages by the devolved government.
Failure by Governor Mwangi Wa Iria’s government to pay the claim triggered auction of the vehicles. Efforts to contact Mukuria on the matter were futile as phone calls and messages went unanswered.