Mathira poll petitioner lands in civil jail over Sh9.5m suit cost

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua. FILE PHOTO | NMG

What you need to know:

  • Michael Gichuru was sentenced Monday by Nyeri High Court Deputy Registrar Nelly Kariuki.

A voter who sought nullification of Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua’s election has been sentenced to one month in civil jail for failing to pay the petition’s legal cost of Sh9.5 million.

Mr Michael Gichuru, a photographer in Karatina town was sentenced Monday by Nyeri High Court Deputy Registrar Nelly Kariuki. He was sentenced after Mr Gachagua’s lawyer Wahome Gikonyo moved to court seeking orders for committal to civil jail unless he (Mr Gichuru) pays the sum of Sh9,518,972, costs which arose from the election petitioner.

But Mr Gichuru told the registrar that he was surprised to have been issued with a notice to show cause why he should not be committed to jail, saying he was not aware of the costs.

“The matter proceeded without my knowledge. I was served with a Notice to Show Cause (NTSC) on March 12, 2019. I will pay in six months’ time,” said Mr Gichuru, terming the show-cause notice irregular.

He said the respondents in the petition- Mr Gachagua and the electoral commission- have never served him or his former advocates, M/S Rachier & Amollo Advocates, with any document apart from the show-cause notice.

“According to Mr Gichuru, his advocates were not involved in the taxation process and that no court order has ever been drafted or extracted and served upon him. But the registrar, while issuing the sentence observed that Mr Gichuru had not given any proper proposal on how he will make the payments. The lawyer was also directed to pay for Mr Gichuru’s maintenance in prison while the matter was scheduled to be mentioned on April 16.

The court heard that in a judgment dated July 18, 2018, the petitioner was required to pay the costs following a decree issued by the Deputy Registrar after assessing the costs of the petition.

When contacted, the MP said the photographer was used by his rival to file the petition unaware of the repercussions.

“Young people must be careful and avoid been abused by politicians. The young man had nothing to do with the petition and he is now languishing in jail while the poll loser is enjoying her life. She should come forward and pay for him the legal costs,” said Mr Gachagua.

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