The Supreme Court on Friday suspended the auction of the Non-Governmental Organisations Coordination Board property after they failed to pay the legal costs incurred by parties in the LGBTQ case.
NGO Board had moved to the court to protest the auction of its assets to cover the legal costs of Eric Gitari and Katiba Institute among other parties who were part of the historic case.
The Board argued in court that it was not aware of the outstanding payment, making it had to pass a decision on what to do. The apex court, therefore, also set aside the notice from the Deputy Registrar that had asked the Board to make payment.
“Leave be and is hereby granted to the Applicant to file and serve the Reference against the decision of the Deputy Registrar on taxation of costs dated 9th June 2023 within 7 days of delivery of this ruling,” the court directed.
Supreme Court judges, from left: Justices Isaac Lenaola, Smokin Wanjala, Philomena Mwilu (DCJ), Martha Koome (CJ), Ibrahim Mohammed, Njoki Ndungu and William Ouko outside the apex court premises.
An order staying the execution of the orders of the Deputy Registrar of this Court dated 9th June 2023 commenced by the 1st respondent and Auctioneers, their agents and/or employees, and/or any person acting under their instructions or directions from selling…the applicant’s property.”
The board argued that, at the time of notice, it was not able to issue instructions to its counsel on the matter due to unavoidable circumstances.
“Its Legal Manager was indisposed and out of the office for the whole week. That upon the Legal Manager resuming work, the instant application was brought without undue delay,” the board told the court.
The respondents had taken the Board to court after it declined to register an organisation advancing the interests of the LGBTQ community.
The court last month upheld their earlier decision, directing that every Kenyan has a right to association, faulting the board for rejecting the registration of the organisations.
From the ruling, the court had directed the Board to cover suit costs, which the agency failed leading to the move by the respondents to seek auction of its property.
“We grant the prayer number three of the said Motion, and staying the execution commenced by the 1st respondent. We also restrained the 1st respondent and the auctioneers from selling, or disposing of any of the applicant’s proclaimed property and/or household equipment pending the hearing and determination of the instant application,” Supreme Court ordered.
The Supreme Court also ordered that the costs of the new application shall abide by the outcome of the ongoing matter.
Chief Justice Martha Koome reading her ruling on the BBI Appeal at the Supreme Court on March 31, 2022.