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Why former Nairobi Finance CEC Pauline Kahiga now risks being jailed

Former Nairobi Finance Executive Pauline Kahiga could be in for more trouble as she is now facing jail for contempt of court.

This comes after being summoned to appear before the High Court in Nairobi today (Monday) for sentencing over an alleged failure to pay a Sh10.2 million judgment debt awarded to Kepha O Maobe and 365 on their behalf and of all residents of Kimathi Estate in a case filed against the county government filed in 1997.

In documents seen by the Nation, Ms Kahiga has been warned that she risks having a warrant of arrest issued against her should she fail to appear in court on that day.

“The High Court has summoned you in your official capacity to appear for sentencing on March 9, 2020 for reasons outlined above…,” said the court summon served by Andrew Ombwayo & Co. Advocates dated March 4, 2020.

“That you are duty bound to pay the judgment debt above of Sh10, 247, 610 exclusive of interest being costs of the suit, before the date of sentencing, which shall mitigate your contempt,” added the summon.

Ms Kahiga is set to appear before Justice J.M Mativo at Milimani High Court in Nairobi for her sentencing.

“It is hereby ordered that summons to issue to one Pauline Nyambura Kahiga Waititu to attend court on March 9, 2020 for sentencing.

“You the said Pauline Nyambura Kahiga Waititu are required to attend Court on March 9, 2020 at 9am without fail,” read in part the order signed by High Court Deputy Registrar.

POWER TUSSLE

On Friday last week, Ms Kahiga was degazetted by Governor Mike Sonko as City Hall’s Finance CEC and in her place, former Trade Executive Allan Igambi appointed as Nairobi County’s substantive Finance Executive.

“It is notified for the general information of the public and pursuant to the Executive Order No 11 dated December 5, 2019, I, Mike Mbuvi Sonko has appointed Allan Igambi as the substantive Finance and Economic Planning CEC and degazetted the appointment of Pauline Kahiga with effect from January 30, 2020,” read the March 6, 2020 gazette notice.

The move finally brought to an end a power tussle at the Finance department that has been ongoing since December last year after Governor Sonko fell out with Ms Kahiga over the payment of pending bills.

The wrangle was so vicious that at one time rowdy youths attempted to eject Ms Kahiga from her office following her sacking on January 30, 2020.

However, a bid by Mr Sonko to have Mr Igambi replace Ms Kahiga was delayed for more than a month after Government Printer boss Mwenda Njoka rejected the changes arguing that the gazettment of Mr Igambi to replace Ms Kahiga, was not done in accordance with the law.

This led to a stalemate that forced Mr Sonko, through lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, to move to court to contest the decision. This led to Mr Njoka seeking for an advisory opinion from the Attorney General on the matter.

However, last month, Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto ruled that Governor Sonko was right to reshuffle his cabinet, including appointing a substantive CEC, is sound in law paving the way for Mr Igambi to finally assume the office.