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Economy

New legal fight over Matiba Sh1bn torture award

President Uhuru Kenyatta when he visited second liberation hero Kenneth Matiba at his home in the south coast, Mombasa. He was accompanied by his daughter Ngina and Son Jomo. FILE PHOTO | NMG
President Uhuru Kenyatta when he visited second liberation hero Kenneth Matiba at his home in the south coast, Mombasa. He was accompanied by his daughter Ngina and Son Jomo. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The family of Kenneth Matiba is still waiting for compensation that has increased to more than Sh1 billion more than six months after the High Court awarded him for torture he suffered during the Moi regime. 

The former Kiharu MP, who died Sunday after suffering a stroke in jail, was awarded Sh945 million for his unlawful detention in the early 1990s and collapsed business empire as well interest dating from the suit was filed in 2014.

The amount has been accruing monthly penalties on delayed pay even as the government fights off additional claim of Sh135 million from the veteran politician for legal fees related to the multi-billion shilling suit.

The parties are due to appear before the High Court on Wednesday after the government filed a reference challenging the Sh135 million award for Matiba costs.

Matiba’s lawyer John Mburu says the State should pay the more than Sh1 billion compensation, arguing that unlike the legal costs the award was not contested in court.

He reckons that the Matiba compensation has risen to Sh1.7 billion when interest is factored in.

Justice Isaac Lenaola awarded Matiba 20 per cent of the Sh4,726,332,042 for the loss of business, putting the compensation at Sh945.2 million.

The court also awarded him Sh15 million in damages and for violations suffered, another Sh18.1 million for medical expenses, pushing the total payout to Sh978.2 million.

Lost investments

Justice Lenaola, however, declined a claim by Mr Matiba for the refurbishment of one of his hotels, saying he was stretching his claims too far.

Mr Matiba had argued that he lost investments worth Sh5 billion following his detention in 1990. 

An audit of the estate had revealed that the politician lost more than Sh2 billion in commercial real estate and a further Sh2 billion in privately held shares.  

Mr Matiba, who unsuccessfully tried to unseat President Moi in 1992, also lost public trading shares worth Sh329 million and dividends amounting to Sh210 million. 

Some of his companies were sold to offset loans, among them the prestigious Hillcrest International Schools.

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