The High Court, on Thursday, pushed the sentencing of three officials of Sarrai Group Ltd including the owner Sarbjit Singh Rai to next month, amid pleas to the court to withhold the decision for at least 90 days.
High Court judge Alfred Mabeya pushed the sentencing of Mr Rai, Mr Rakesh Kumar and Mr Stephen Kihumba to June 15 before Justice Josephine Mongare, after indicating that he had recused himself from the matter last year.
The trio was directed to appear before Justice Mabeya- the presiding judge of the Commercial division, and show cause why they should not be jailed for contempt of court, for continued operations at Mumias Sugar Company (MSC) despite being ordered to stop.
Justice Dorah Chepkwony found them guilty of contempt of court last month and fined them Sh100,000 before directing them to appear before Judge Mabeya for sentencing because she was on transfer.
“Having recused myself from the matter, I cannot purport to make any judicial pronouncements on the same,” the judge said.
The trio through senior counsel, Prof Githu Muigai, had pleaded with the court to defer the sentencing for at least 90 days, to enable them to pursue an appeal at the Court of Appeal and also seek a review of the decision.
Prof Muigai told the court that they had filed an application before the Appellate court and they will present themselves to the High Court for sentencing, in case they lose.
The application was opposed by creditors including lawyers Jackline Kimeto and Dr John Khaminwa saying the Appellate court declined to suspend the sentencing.
They said Mr Rai and other officials should first purge the contempt before addressing the court on any other matters.
Judge Chepkwony ruled last month that Sarrai Group had proceeded with the operations at the miller despite being ordered to cease operations on July 28, last year.
The Uganda-based firm had been awarded a 20-year lease to operate the troubled miller but it was later cancelled.