Chief Justice David Maraga. (Photo: David Njaaga/Standard)
A man has written to Chief Justice David Maraga, accusing a judge of mishandling a case which could see him lose a property worth Sh40 million.
Mr Jackson Kamau Ndegwa, who wants High Court Judge Janet Mulwa to be removed from hearing his case, said in his letter: “The judge allowed an application by the Land Registrar, the bank, and other parties and refused to allow the hearing of the contempt of court case I filed against HFCK in 2011.”
He has accused the judge of locking out his witnesses and instead allowing the accused to call and recall witnesses, then dismissing his case before it was fully heard.
“Your honour, it’s my prayer that you intervene and order the contempt proceedings to be heard on a priority basis,” the letter reads.
The bone of contention is a Sh160,000 loan that Ndegwa’s wife took from her employer, the then Housing Finance Corporation of Kenya (HFCK), 25 years ago to buy 1.5 hectares.
Ndegwa says his wife paid the loan before her retirement, claims that Housing Finance has denied. “My wife paid back the loan before she retired. However, when we went back for clearance, the managers told us we still had loan arrears to settle,” Ndegwa said.
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HFCK moved in and started collecting rent from the house that Ndegwa and his wife had built on the land. Ndegwa went to court to stop the bank from interfering with the property after it had collected rent for one-and-a-half years.
A court in Nairobi ruled in his favour and directed HFCK and the Registrar of Lands not to interfere with the property.
Instead, HFCK sold the house for Sh4 million, a price Ndegwa insisted was below its value. In 2011, he sued HFCK for contempt.
On Monday last week, Ndegwa says he went to court for the mention of the case and he was shocked when Justice Mulwa dismissed his case.
He said he had expected the court to set the pre-trial date. Ndegwa said he was not even allowed to defend himself. And to make matters worse, Justice Mulwa made the decision in the absence of his lawyer.
Ndegwa sought the services of another lawyer, who was unable to convince the court to hear his contempt case.
Later, under a certificate of urgency, he again moved to the High Court in Nairobi, seeking orders to set aside Justice Mulwa’s orders. Ndegwa said dismissing his case puts his life and the lives of his family members at risk.
Ndegwa argued that the court has violated his right by dismissing his case instead of fixing the hearing date, as was expected.
The court is said to have relied on court orders purported to have been issued on July 19, 2012 to allow HFCK to take over the property. But the orders were not produced in court.