The Defense Ministry Permanent Secretary (PS) has been committed to six months of civil jail for failing to pay five former military officers Sh12.5 million for illegal detention during the 1982 coup.
High Court judge Jairus Ngaah on Wednesday ruled that Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed was in contempt of court for failing to show up in court to explain why he had defied the court orders of November 14, 2017.
The five ex-servicemen had served in the armed forces between 1975 and 1982 and had lodged the claim 30 years after the suspected violation took place.
“I find the permanent secretary for Defense having refused to show up in court and mitigate why he had disobeyed court orders. I hereby commit him to six months civil jail,” Judge Jairus ruled.
The Judge said that the PS failed to honor a judgment that was delivered on November 14, 2017.
The five former servicemen, Joseph Kipkirui Rotich Yopsoi, Joel Benard Lekukuton, James Lesiopa Longipo, Jason Learion, and William Leaduma Seketian, had been fired and detained for allegedly taking part in the failed coup.
In their application before the court, the five stated that the judgment was issued on November 14, 2017, but the respondents have not yet paid and have not appealed nor obtained any stay from any court.
They claimed that the PS was issued with an order compelling him as the accounting officer of the Ministry of Defense to make payment of Sh12,500,000 plus interest from November 14, 2017.
“He was served with the court order on July 17, 2019 but failed, ignored and refused to make payments to applicants,” the court heard.
In their case, the former soldiers noted that in August 1982, there was a mutiny and attempted coup in the country by elements within the armed forces which was short-lived, several arrests were made, and deaths recorded.
The former servicemen claim to have been entangled in the whole scene, resulting in their discharge from the forces and their detention and imprisonment in certain cases.
According to the five, their rights had been violated for unlawful detention and lost their liberty by being treated inhumanely by being locked in waterlogged and dark cells.