Court dismisses application by Safaricom to suspend arrest of top officials

Safaricom PLC Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa. PHOTO/Linkedin

Haigh Court has dismissed an application by Safaricom PLC top officials seeking to suspend a warrant of arrest issued against them for failure to pay a litigant  Sh 7 million.

Embu High Court Judge L. Njuguna dismissed the application by Safaricom seeking to suspend execution of a Garnishee order which they had failed to obey.

The court ruled that it would be presumptuous for it to grant a stay of execution orders before the applicant (Safaricom PLC) is granted leave to appeal. 

“In any event, and as the court has observed herein above, the applicant has not challenged the ruling delivered on the 8th of December 2022 by the trial court,” Justice Njuguna ruled.

According to the warrant of arrest, those to be arrested are the Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa and directors Dilip Pal, Christopher Kirugia, Winifred Ouko, Raisibe Morathi, Sitholizwe Mdalalose, Rose Ogega, Francesco Bianco and former CEO Michael Joseph.

Justice Njuguna noted that the fate of that application is yet to be determined and the court cannot assume that the applicant will automatically be granted the leave sought.

“The wording of the provision contemplates that an appeal must be in existence before an application for stay can be entertained,” the judge ruled.

The Judge said the company was seeking to challenge the Garnishee Orders Absolute that were issued by the trial court and there was no appeal or even a draft memorandum of appeal challenging the decision of the trial court that adjudged the directors of the applicant guilty of contempt of court.

The judge observed that the Garnishee Order Absolute was overtaken by the ruling delivered on the 8th December 2022 and as such, the court was persuaded by the submissions by the 1st respondent(Ephantus Mbogo Njuki) that it does not have jurisdiction to entertain the application dated 9/12/2022.

Through lawyer Edna Rweya, Safaricom had pleaded with the court to rescue the CEO and top directors claiming that if the orders sought were not issued they would suffer substantial loss and prejudice.