Football Football

KPL cleared of contempt charges

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NAIROBI, Kenya, March 13 – Kenyan Premier League (KPL) top officials have been acquitted of contempt of court charges.

The High Court on Friday afternoon ruled that there was no evidence that KPL was served with the order barring it from organising league matches.

Nairobi’s Milimani High Court Lady Justice Roseline Aburili, found KPL CEO Jack Oguda, his chairman Ambrose Rachier, Tusker FC’s James Musyoki, Mathare United’s Bob Munro, Ulinzi Stars’ Col. Mwinyikai Juma, AFC Leopards’ Allan Kasavuli and Sofapaka’s Elly Kalekwa not guilty of the charges.

“This court having found that there was no service of knowledge of the injunction upon the respondents and that there was selective justice inciting them for contempt.

“They were not in disobedient of the court order and therefore, I decline to grant the order sort by plaintiff applicant seeking to have them jailed and the said motion is accordingly dismissed and the respondents are found not guilty. I order that each party bares their own cost of this application,” the Lady Justice ruled.

Speaking moments after the ruling, Oguda who was the only respondent in court declared the judge’s direction was a relief since he was innocent.

“The ruling today was in our favour because we confirmed that we did not receive the injunction and as KPL we respect the rule of law and that’s why we have not held any matches since then. We now hope the court will lift the court order so that we can go to the field,” the delighted chief executive stated outside the courthouse.

The ruling spared the seven, seen as key decision makers in the KPL Governing Council, six months in civil jail after the federation rushed to court on February 25 seeking to have them locked up in the continuing supremacy battle against their rivals.

However, over 100 football enthusiasts who jam packed the courtroom will miss the league for the third week after Justice Aburili extended the order stopping KPL from running its 2015 Premier League to Monday ,when she will make a ruling on the application to have it lifted.

Curiously, FKF vice president Robert Asembo and their lawyer Eric Mutua were conspicuously absent with the latter sending a junior attorney.

Suspended FKF officials, former vice president Sammy Shollei and Nairobi delegate Dan Shikanda who were enjoined in the suit attended the hearing but they will be heard next week.

Aburili, who demanded written applications from both parties after they failed to settle the matter out of court, said FKF’s contempt charges had ill motive since it discriminated KPL officials despite the injunction also addressing Kenya Football Referees Association and Sports Kenya.

“The question that begs answers from this court is what criteria did the plaintiff use to seek the said directors to be cited of contempt to the exclusion of the other two defendants officials bearing in mind the match cannot be held without referees or the facility.

“The process server is in question since it’s not clear whether the recipient Mr Oguda received the order at 5:30pm. I have found that the process server picked the injunction at 5:30pm so there is no way the recipient could receive the order at the said time,” the lady justice ruled.

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