The High Court has extended an order freezing bank accounts belonging to the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi and that of a law firm associated with her over Ksh100 million gold scandal case until June 9, 2023.
This is after Justice Alfred Mabeya informed parties in the case that the ruling on the application by Amadi and her son Brian Ochieng seeking to have the freezing orders vacated was not ready thus postponing the same and extended the interim orders to Friday next week.
"When l looked at the documents in this application l found they were voluminous than what you(Lawyers) submitted on Monday (May 29, 2023). Therefore the ruling is not ready. It will be delivered on Friday, June 9, 2023 at 8am," Justice Mabeya stated while postponing the ruling.
The judge had on Monday set today June 2 as the ruling date on the plea by Amadi and her son to lift the order pending the hearing of a lawsuit where a British citizen Demetrios Bradshaw trading as Bruton Gold Trading LLC has sued them over an alleged Ksh100 million gold-selling deal.
Amadi through lawyer Ochieng Oduol has urged the court to vacate the order saying it was prejudicial to his client who was the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary as it has occasioned her financial embarrassment due to failure to meet her financial obligations.
"We were seeking temporary relief by staying the freezing orders issued two weeks ago by justice David Majanja. We believe that the court was deceived and the orders are causing a lot of prejudice to Amadi, " Oduol told the judge.
While seeking to suspend the order, Oduol told the court that the events complained of began as early as 2021 and ‘there is no house on fire’.
“We undertake that those (bank) accounts will not be interfered with,” he said.
The court heard that the petitioner Bradshaw obtained the freezing orders through deceit as he took advantage of the ex-parte proceedings to mislead the court without full disclosure of the matter.
Oduol argued that the court had condemned her unheard in freezing her bank accounts.
"That the plaintiff is guilty of non-disclosure of material facts in its Pleadings and Affidavits. The true facts of this matter have been suppressed and manipulated with intent to mislead the Honourable Court and obtain orders against the Amadi," the court papers read in part.
"That the following facts were not disclosed to and/suppressed from the court that the 1st Defendant herein is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and currently serving as the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary of Kenya," Oduol added.
Anne Amadi denies fraud link
In an affidavit filed in court, Amadi has distanced herself from the gold deal.
" No evidence has been tendered in support of the general allegations that I have fraudulently benefited from the alleged undelivered gold consignment," she states in her response to the suit by Bruton.
"I confirm that no such sums relating to the impugned transaction were ever deposited to my personal bank accounts and petitioner has failed to tender any evidence that I was a beneficiary of the alleged fraud," Amadi adds in her affidavit.
Further, she informed the court that she had ceased private practice in 2014 when she was appointed to Judiciary and was unaware of the transaction that had caused her to be mentioned in the matter filed against her.
"I tendered my leave of absence from the firm of Amadi and Associates Advocates. I am no longer in private practice and I do not draw a salary nor share in the profits from the said firm. The present matter has nothing to do with my office as Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Kenya," she stated in the affidavit.
The CRJ stated that she was not aware of the transaction by the law firm that retained her name after she took leave that was the subject of the case present in court where she has been listed as the first respondent.
"I am not privy nor a party to the transaction which forms the subject matter of the application herein nor the underlying suit in general. I took leave of absence from my role as partner in the firm of Amadi and Associates Advocates in the year 2014 following my appointment as Chief Registrar Judiciary, whose leave was duly communicated to the Law Society of Kenya," she explained further.
According to Amadi, the law firm from which she had taken leave from was taken over by her son Brian, the second respondent in the matter, together with Andrew Njenga, Kikanae Topoti , who are the third and fourth respondents respectively.
"Upon my resignation the firm remained dormant until Brian, Njenga and Topoti took up the management and operations. I left the affairs of the firm in the hands of the three, who opted to retain the firm name Amadi and Associates Advocates," Amadi added.
The senior judicial officer explained that efforts to change the name of Amadi Associates and Advocates firm were not possible as another registered business carried the name the new partners intended to adopt.
"That there was a difficulty with the registration of changes to the firm with the Business Registration Service due to the existence of another business name, a business consultancy under the proprietorship of Alenga Edward Amadi registered with a similar name being Amadi and Associates," her affidavit read.
Amadi argued that it was neither illegal nor unethical for new partners to continue with the initial name of the firm.
Ochieng and Kiarie, on the other hand, have claimed that they did not sign any agreement with Bruton for the delivery of the gold worth more than Ksh100 million. They said they only provided the services of an escrow account to the Dubai based firm.
But the gold trader Bradshaw urged Justice Mabeya to dismiss the application filed by Amadi, saying she is still the registered proprietor of Amadi and Associates Advocates that is at the centre of the scandal.
Through Murage Juma and Company Advocates, Bradshaw told the court that any action in recovery of the money has to be taken against the registered proprietor of the said law firm, which does not have a separate legal personality from Amadi.
Bradshaw, the director of Bruton Gold Trading LLC, obtained orders freezing the law firm’s bank accounts and those of Amadi two weeks ago.
The money in question was meant for the purchase of 1,500kg of gold bars but the consignment never arrived in Dubai
Also frozen were accounts belonging to Advocate Andrew Kiarie and Kikanae Topoti, who are advocates in the law firm of Amadi's son. The court further froze the accounts of one David Kangara, the gold exporter representing a company called Universal Gold Logistics Limited (UGL) and one Edward Tyalor the alleged gold vendor.