A suit involving Total Kenya Ltd and the late Nyeri businessman Stephen Wang’ondu, who was accused of plotting the murder of his own son, risks being thrown out of court because of delays.
In an application, Total’s lawyer Lawrence Ongeri told the Environment and Land Court in Nyeri that since Wang’ondu brought charges against the company on April 4, 2005, the suit has not proceeded to hearing.
Mr Ongeri wants the suit dismissed because the plaintiff and his relatives have failed to follow up on it.
“It is apparent that the plaintiff is no longer interested in this suit, which has now become an unnecessary burden on the defendant,” Mr Ongeri told the court.
The late businessman, who was listed as the prime suspect in the murder of his firstborn son Daniel Mwangi in a different case, died in May as the case was underway.
But in the Total case before the Land court, he is listed as the only plaintiff and is suing on behalf of his rental business premises, Emmanuel Mweiga Service Station.
He accused Total of defaulting on rent of Sh435,000 for his business premises in Mweiga for eight years.
Court papers show that he leased the premises, registered as LR No. 7623/28, to the defendant for a monthly rent of Sh5,000 so as to operate a petrol station.
He said he rented out the premises through a lease agreement dated February 7, 1995 that was to run until September 1, 2008.
But in January 1998, Total vacated the premises, contrary to the lease agreement.
In the suit, Wang’ondu sought the monthly rent he lost from January 1998 to September 2008, following the breach of the lease agreement. He also sought the release of the land’s title deed.
But in its defence, Total has denied signing a lease agreement with Wang’ondu.
Instead, it says that the agreement was signed between the company and different parties - George Kahumbu, Joseph Muriithi, Francis Wanjohi and Charles Kihuni - on December 9, 1969.
Total says the lease agreement was to run until September 2008, but Wang’ondu interfered, forcing them to vacate.
“The plaintiff started by making constructions on an adjacent plot which later blocked any access to our business, forcing the company to terminate the contract and leave the premises due to frustration,” says the company through its lawyer.
Mr Ongeri said the land is now occupied by a different tenant.
The case continues on November 16.