Economy

Total fights Sh2m bill for detaining client

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Summary

  • Total Kenya wants a Nairobi court to set aside a Sh2.4 million bill slapped on them for damages after detaining a director of a company who had gone to fuel at one of its petrol station.
  • Joseph Mukuna Shimekha, a director of Project and Allied Consultants, went to fuel his vehicle at Total’s South City Service Station at Nairobi’s South B estate on January 17, 2011.
  • Mr Shimekha was a holder of Bon Voyage pre-paid fuel card and he wanted Sh5,000 fuel.

Total Kenya wants a Nairobi court to set aside a Sh2.4 million bill slapped on them for damages after detaining a director of a company who had gone to fuel at one of its petrol station.

Joseph Mukuna Shimekha, a director of Project and Allied Consultants, went to fuel his vehicle at Total’s South City Service Station at Nairobi’s South B estate on January 17, 2011.

Mr Shimekha was a holder of Bon Voyage pre-paid fuel card and he wanted Sh5,000 fuel.

The pump attendant did as directed but stopped fuelling midway, saying the card did not have credit.

The transaction was stopped at Sh2,960 and he was asked to pay in cash.

He did not have money with him and was therefore detained for several hours.

Mr Shimekha was with his young son.

He said he later sought an apology from Total for breach of contract without success after which he sued seeking general damages for illegal detention, emotional distress and costs of the suit.

Total did not file any response to the case and Senior Resident Magistrate D.O Mbeja ruled against the oil marketer.

“I find that the plaintiff is an injured party and as such, he is entitled to damages for emotional distress and illegal detention,” said the magistrate.

“Upon careful analysis of the evidence so far on record, I have also noted that here was no misrepresentation, duress and undue influence nor mistake when the card was issued by the defendant. This goes to the root of the contract. In the opinion of the court, there is a fundamental breach of contract on the part of the defendant when it declined to fuel the vehicle.”

The court also awarded Mr Shimekha costs of the suit.

Following Total’s latest application, Mr Mbeja has directed the company to appear before him on June 3 to plead its case.