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Matatu owner fined Sh21 million for his driver’s recklessness

By Mercy Mwende December 10th, 2020 2 min read

A reckless matatu driver has prompted the auctioning of his employer’s property in order to settle Sh21 million compensation to a passenger crippled in an accident eight years ago.

On October 12, 2012 the driver, John Kariuki, had crashed a matatu along Karatina-Mukurweini road in Nyeri which left the passenger paralysed.

Eight years later, the matatu owner, Mr Noor Ahmed, has been ordered by the courts to pay Sh21,155,0082 for the accident he neither caused nor witnessed.

But since his driver John Kariuki is unable to compensate Kevin Ombangi, a university student at the time, for ruining his life, the court has directed that his employer shoulder’s the burden.

On the particular day, Mr Kariuki had crashed into a ditch.

The accident left Mr Ombangi, then a 22-year-old student at the United States International University (USIU), with severe injuries that later crippled him.

Through his father Samuel Ongweso, Mr Ombangi moved to court seeking compensation for the damages he incurred and future expenses his family will incur because of his situation.

He filed a suit against Mr Kariuki and Mr Ahmed as the first and second defendants.

According to court documents, Mr Ongweso sought reimbursement for special damages the family incurred in medical expenses, physiotherapy, medical report and the police abstract.

He also cited that as a result of the accident, his son’s education had been cut short.

Succumbed to injuries

Mr Ongweso told the court that the family had spent Sh3,835,512 for his son’s medical treatment locally and Sh1.8 million for his treatment in India.

A medical report presented to the court explained Mr Ombangi was paralysed from the neck down.

“The examination revealed that the patient is conscious however with no audible speech,” said the letter dated October 2016.

In a judgement on June 8,2018, the court ruled that the defendants jointly compensate the victim’s father Sh20,200,000 inclusive of interests and costs.

But the respondents never complied with the judgement.

As a result, the family sought court orders to auction Mr Ongweso’s property which the court granted.

In a decree on August 17, Icon auctioneers attached property belonging to Blay Energy Limited Company. At the time, the award money had accrued an interest of over Sh1 million.

In a similar case, Ms Regina Nyambura, a matatu owner based in Nyeri, has been committed to a 30-day civil jail three times for failure to pay Sh8,261,250.

Her driver, Mr David Njuguna, in an accident hit Daniel Wakhungu, who later succumbed to the injuries.

Wakhungu’s family was awarded the money with interest and costs as compensation on November 6, 2018 by the court. It has already accrued an interest of over Sh2 million.