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Ex-MP gets nod to sue for Sh54m over death of wife

by kenya-tribune
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By SAM KIPLAGAT
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Former Nyeri Town MP Wanyiri Kihoro and his daughter have been allowed by the Court of Appeal to pursue a Sh54 million compensation against Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) and an airline following a 2003 air crash in Busia that led to the death of the former legislator’s wife.

The authority has been fighting through the lower courts on the grounds that the suit was filed late.

Justices Philip Waki, Roselyn Nambuye and Agnes Murgor allowed the appeal to proceed for fair hearing since the law restricting suit filing period had been changed.

“In that tricky balancing act, we respectfully choose to err on the side of fair hearing and give time to the respondents suing on behalf of the estate of the deceased to seek extension of time to file the suit against KCAA,” the judges ruled.

Mr Kihoro and his daughter Mugure Wanyiri were granted 14 days to seek an extension of time, failing which the matter, which was filed in September 2009, six years after the Busia plane accident, will stand struck out.

The former MP’s spouse Wanjiru Kihoro succumbed to her injuries after being in a coma for three years and nine months.

Three other ministers — Raphael Tuju (Tourism), Linah Kilimo (Office of the President), and Martha Karua (Water) — were later airlifted to Nairobi for treatment.

But soon after the Kihoros filing the case, KCAA filed an objection seeking it to be struck out arguing that it was time-barred. Justice Michael Khamoni (now retired), who heard the application disagreed with KCAA and dismissed its objection. The regulator then moved to the Court of Appeal faulting the High Court judge.

Attorney General supported the argument emphasizing that the suit was hopelessly out of time as it ought to have been filed one year after the cause of action arose in January, 2003.

But through Dr John Khaminwa, Mr Kihoro urged the Appellate court that limitation of actions clauses no longer apply in view of Article 159 (2) (d) of the Constitution, requiring that justice be administered without undue regard to procedural technicalities.

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