PCEA leaders explain treasurer installation at Ruto-attended event despite court order

The ceremony took place at the church's headquarters, St Andrews' Parish in Nairobi.

Photo credit: PCS

The newly installed treasurer of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA), David Nderitu Ndumo, has not taken up office pending the determination of a case challenging his election to the post.

Appearing before Justice Arsenath Ongeri Wednesday, Rev Patrick Thegu Mutahi - the Moderator of the 24th General Assembly - told the court that Mr Ndumo had been asked not to assume office until the matter is determined.

Rev Mutahi further said he was not aware of the court order - which stopped Mr Ndumo's installation during the Assembly, which was attended by President William Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.

“That I did not willfully or otherwise disobey the court order as at the time the Honourary Treasurer was installed. I was not aware of the existence of the court order or the instant suit,” Rev Mutahi said.

Justice Ongeri ordered them to appear before her personally on July 10 for the hearing of the contempt of court application.

For his part, Dr Robert Waihenya Ngugi, the PCEA secretary-general who was also cited for contempt of court, said he did not participate in the installation.

“That I did not interject the Moderator regarding the court order and the installation procedure for the Honorary Treasurer because the President of the Republic of Kenya, the Deputy President, Church Elders and other dignitaries were in attendance,” he said in an affidavit filed in court.

The judge warned that the dignity of the court would be eroded if orders are disregarded.

Pending court case

Mr Benjamin Njoroge Mburu, a member of the church, challenged Mr Ndumo's election, saying he had a pending court case.

He said the case pending before the Co-operative Tribunal degrades and dishonours the office and the church in general.

In the matter pending before the court, 15 guarantors sued the church elder after he failed to repay a Sh5.8 million loan he took from Sheria Savings and Credit Organisation in 2018, forcing them to repay the loan.

Mr Mburu had rushed to court to stop Mr Ndumo's installation on April 9, arguing that his nomination as honorary treasurer was inconsistent with the nominating committee's past practice and policy of not appointing people with court cases against them.

In response, Rev Mutahi stated that he had great respect for the law and the courts and could not deliberately disobey or disregard an order.

He said he only became aware of the court order late in the evening after the inauguration had taken place.

Mr Mutahi pleaded with the court to allow the dispute to be handled within the church bodies, saying such disputes would affect the welfare of millions of members.