How KTDA lost Sh3 billion after auctioneers carted computer servers

The labour court has suspended the execution of a Sh6.1 million decree against the Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited (KTDA) which occasioned a loss of over Sh3 billion when its computer servers were taken away by auctioneers.

Lady Justice Monicah Mbaru declared erroneous a decree executed by Zasha Auctioneers on November 4, 2016 in attaching KTDA’s property.

She ordered a former sale and marketing officer who had instructed Zasha to pay costs of the case.

Lawyer Ben Millimo for KTDA told Justice Mbaru that the auctioneer took away all the four main computer servers which affected all the 54 tea factories countrywide and the tea auction at Mombasa for a period of four days.

“The taking away of the four servers by Zasha Auctioneers on instructions of Mr Kimathi not only paralysed the operations of the 54 tea factories countrywide but also grounded the Mombasa Tea Auction for four days,” Mr Millimo told the judge.

“The inclusion of sums that are not due by Mr Kimathi defeated the purpose of execution and proceeded in error and without a lawful decree as the amounts in the warrants are not inaccordance with the court judgement,” Said the Judge.

In the extracted warrant, Mr Millimo told the judge that the former KTDA employee indicated that he had been awarded Sh5,567,717.

The auctioneer Ms Irene Adhiambo charged Sh820,000 for her fees. She executed the decree under the supervision of the officer commanding central police station.

Mr Millimo said Sh499,994 was an award in favour of KTDA and not in favour of Mr Kimathi as he claimed in the warrant.

In her ruling the judge concurred with Mr Millimo and said “the decree thus extracted by Mr Kimathi (respondent) as comprising Sh5 million (award for wrongful dismissal) is correct but the amounts Sh499,994, Sh281,073 (less paid) and 343,571 ( interest on decretal sum) was erroneous.”The judge said the warrant as drawn was erroneous and unexecutable.Mr Kimathi had been award Sh5 million for wrongful dismissal and when he extracted the order for the compensation he included amounts which were not granted in his favour.

Mr Millimo who moved the employment and labour relations court (ELRC) under a certificate of urgency urged the judge to stop execution of the award.

The judge heard KTDA has challenged the award as drawn by Mr Kimathi at the Court of Appeal.

The judge allowed KTDA request for suspending the warrant and ordered Zasha to return the servers and other goods she took away when she levied distress.