Auctioneer found guilty of contempt of court in Westland’s eviction saga

Zacharia Baraza at Milimani Law Courts at a past date where the police sought orders to detain him for 14 days to complete investigations into the destruction of a multi-million home in Westlands. Photo/Sam Alfan

An auctioneer with Siuma Auctioneers has been found guilty of contempt of court after illegally demolishing a multi-million home in Westlands, Nairobi.

Zachariah Baraza was found guilty by Justice Oscar Angote who ordered him to appear in court on 17th November 2022 for mitigation and sentencing.

The judge ruled that the order of the lower court issued on 18th October 2022 does not direct the auctioneer to evict the respondent who is a company, Metro Pharmaceuticals limited.

“The auctioneer went against the orders of the court as he did not have express authority from the lower court. He disobeyed the order by taking away properties of the respondent,” Justice Angote ruled.

Baraza had told the court that he was acting on the instructions of Lariak Properties Limited after receiving a court order from them indicating that they were to take vacant possession of the property.

According to the judge, Baraza carried out the auction with authority. He added that anyone who disobeys orders of the court is liable to a two year imprisonment or a Sh 2 million fine.

“It is the finding of this court that Zachariah Baraza abused the powers of the court,” the judge added.

In his affidavit, Baraza admitted to failing to extract the said court order and solely relied on the word of his client’s advocate Edwin Nyanyuki.

The auctioneer added that on 4th November 2022, he presented himself to the property and notified the occupants of the reason for his visit.

“The occupants of the property sought time and indeed called movers who came and started removing belongings from the premises,” Baraza swears in his affidavit.

He further stated that on the same day at around 6 PM, he handed over the property to the Director of Lariak Properties, Samuel Chepkwony, who acknowledged receiving possession of the property by signing a handover note.

Chepkwony, in his affidavit, told the court that he also relied on the word of his advocate and believed that eviction orders had been granted.

The auctioneer is also facing a criminal case in regards to the property.