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KQ bosses risk contempt proceedings in court battle

Kenya Airways Chief Executive Allan Kilavuka and Board Chairman Michael Joseph are staring at contempt proceedings for defying court orders.

The duo stands accused of preventing the airline agents from causing a disturbance and executing evictions orders against renowned aviation company 748 Air Services and African Express Airways.

“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,” explained the African Express legal team.

African Express Airways (AFEX) Managing Director, Captain Musa Bulhan, in a letter dated August 7, 2021, requested Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) to provide it with a new alternative access gate after Kenya Airways blocked them from accessing their offices.

Captain Bulhan says their workforce has 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.

On August 5, 2021, AFEX obtained a high court order directing KQ to allow AFEX to use the KAA gate at the Airport North Road.

AFEX argued 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 23rd 2021 with its agents and reportedly vandalized its offices.

“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.

The court ordered against any acts of disobedience and non-observance until it makes a ruling on the matter on September, 23, 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.

African Express Airways has even pleaded with the airport’s authority to allow it pre-finance construction of the independent gate upon approval.

In another offensive, Kenya Airways is reported to have repainted 748 Plaza in continued defiance of court orders.

“KQ has repainted the building despite court orders issued against them,” said 748 Air Services Managing Director, Moses Mwangi.

On July 26th, 2021, Chief Magistrate Court granted 748 Air services 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.

In July 23, 2021, around 15 armed police and more than 50 men raided 748 Plaza along Airport North Road in Embakasi broke the premises entrance glassdoor, broke other doors, removed and extremely damaged office furniture, and fittings.

In an affidavit dated July 26th, 2021, 748 Air Services Managing Director, Moses Mwangi said the raid had disrupted normal operations at the Embakasi office and left the airline with significant losses.

Following the incident, 748 Air services personnel of over two hundred (200) employees were unable to access the same premises and could not be able to trace important documents, records, and machinery.