The Court of Appeal has directed an embassy to pay a landlord over Sh8 million for breach of contract.
Appeal Judges Festus Azangalala , Kairu Gatembu and Agnes Murgor ordered the Ghana High Commission in Kenya to pay Unicom Limited over 74,000 Euros (Sh8million) for breaching the tenancy agreement.
The embassy vacated the premises it had rented for its official duties and residence without following terms of the tenancy.
The case was dismissed by High Court Justice Daniel Musinga in December 9, 2011, on grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction “to entertain it on account of sovereign immunity under the Privileges and Immunities Act Chapter 179 of the Laws of Kenya.”
In their judgment, the three judges ruled that the embassy does not enjoy diplomatic immunity when it comes to signing of a landlord-tenant agreement.
The judges said the relation between the embassy and Unicom was a “purely private commercial transaction that was not shielded by diplomatic immunity.”
They said the embassy entered into a tenancy contract with Unicom Ltd in October 13, 2008 to lease its property in Nairobi for five years and three months beginning October 15, 2008.
The landlord claimed the embassy terminated the tenancy without complying with the provisions in the agreement on tenancy termination.