KQ bosses risk facing contempt of court charges
Published on: August 18, 2021 01:41 (EAT)
The legal battle pitting Kenya Airways against aviation firms African Express Airways (AFEX) and 748 Air Services could intensify following failure by KQ Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka and Board Chairman Michael Joseph to obey court orders. Justice S. Okongo on August 5, 2021, ordered KQ to allow AFEX use the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) gate at the Airport North Road. “Pending the delivery of the said ruling, the defendant shall on a temporary basis restore the plaintiff forthwith into L.R. No. 9042/584 and shall ensure that their agents, contractors, employees and workmen vacate and remove themselves from the premises immediately and unconditionally,” said Justice S. Okong’o in the order. However, according to African Express lawyers, “Despite service of the orders KQ has refused to grant access to AFEX and the CEO and Chairman are likely to be cited for contempt of court orders if this continues.” African Express Airways Managing Director, Captain Musa Bulhan, in a letter dated August 7, 2021 wrote to the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) seeking to be facilitated with an independent gate to access its premises at the airport. AFEX has even pleaded with the airport’s authority to allow it pre-finance construction of the independent gate upon approval. Captain Bulhan says their workforce have been unable to access AFEX facilities due to an ongoing legal tussle between Kenya Airways and 748 air services over a parcel of land owned by African Airlines International. “We are unable to access our premises on L.R. No.9042/584 because KQ has denied us access even after the court order was given,” said Captain Bulhan in the letter. AFEX argued that it was not party to the lower court matter filed by Kenya Airways against 748 Air services but the national carrier visited its premises on July 23, 2021 with its agents to vandalize offices. The court ordered against any acts of disobedience and non-observance until it makes a ruling on the matter in September, 23rd, 2021. Failure to observe the orders, it said would attract penal consequences. “It is on this background that we are requesting JKIA to facilitate an independent gate to enable us access our premises on L.R. No. 9042/584,” said Captain Bulhan. Kenya Airways is further accused of repainting 748 Plaza in continued defiance of court orders. “KQ have repainted the building despite court orders issued against them,” said 748 Air Services Managing Director, Moses Mwangi. 748 Air services on July 26, 2021 secured staying orders, preventing Kenya Airways and its agents from further executing eviction orders. This followed a legal suit filed by the airline against Kenya Airways for malicious damage of its property worth millions of shillings and harassment of employees.