1.The Appellant’s application dated 19th October 2021 sought to have the execution proceedings which were commenced by the Respondent on 18th October 2021, declared unlawful and illegal.1.The Appellant was of the view that the said proceedings were null and void for all intents and purposes. Therefore, it was requested that the execution be lifted and annulled.2.In particular, the Appellant asked the Court to recall, cancel and anull the Warrants of Attachment dated 18th October, 2021 as well as the Proclamation which was served on the Appellant on 18th October 2021.
3.It is common ground that;SUBPARA a.On 26th July 2017, the trial court delivered judgment in favour of the respondent.SUBPARA b.The said judgment was for General Damages amounting to Kshs 792,476/=.SUBPARA c.The learned trial magistrate also awarded costs of the suit and interest.SUBPARA d.The Appellants challenged the decision through an appeal at the High Court.SUBPARA e.On 19th March 2018, the High Court dismissed the appeal, with costs to the respondent.SUBPARA f.The appellants filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal. On 18th June 2021 the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.SUBPARA g.Whilst the appeal was still pending, the parties recorded a consent order, staying execution on 5th July 2019.As a pre-condition for the stay of execution, the appellant deposited the decretal amount together with the costs of the suit, into a joint account, which was in the names of the advocates for the parties herein.
4.According to the Appellant, the Respondent had no reason to take out execution proceedings when he was well aware that the decretal amount was available in the joint account.
5.The Respondent blamed the advocate for the Appellant for failing to immediately release the decretal amount after the appeal was dismissed.
6.The Respondent also pointed out that the money which was in the joint account did not include the costs awarded by the High Court. He explained thus;
7.The first point of note in that submission is the fact that the decree which was being executed was issued on 19th July 2018.
8.Therefore, as the Respondent readily conceded, pursuant to Order 22 Rule 18 of the Civil Procedure Rules a Notice to Show Cause has to issue where a decree was more than a year old.
9.But because there had been a stay of execution, the Respondent submitted that the said Order had the effect of stopping time from running.
10.I appreciate that when there was an Order for stay of execution, a party who took steps to carry out execution would be in contempt of Court.
11.The Respondent’s position was that the presence of an Order for stay of execution stopped time from running. The said understanding was derived from the following words, in Koinange Investment And Development Company Limited Vs Ian Kahiu Ngethe & 3 Others(2019) eKLR.
12.It is important to put that decision in context. That case involved the question as to whether or not the judgment which had been delivered more than 12 years before, could be executed. The question stemmed from the provisions of Section 4 (4) of the Limitation of Actions Act which provides as follows;
13.That provision makes it clear that if the judgment was not enforced within the stipulated period, the rights of the decree holder were extinguished.
14.It was the decision of the Court that the time stipulated in the Limitation of Actions Act stopped running for the period when there was an Order for stay of execution. I fully appreciate the rationale behind that decision, as it serves to safeguard the rights of a decree holder whose hands were tied by an Order of the Court, when execution was stayed. As it is the Order of the Court which precluded him from taking steps to execute the decree, it was only fair and just that the period when the Order was in place be excluded when computing the 12 years period, from the date when the judgment was delivered.
15.In my considered opinion, that case is distinguishable from the case before me. I say so because in this case there is no issue touching on the Limitation of Acts Act.
16.The Applicant has not asserted that the rights of the Respondent had been extinguished.
17.And the Respondent has, in his submissions, noted as follows;
18.In my considered opinion, that statement accurately captures the scope of the Order 22 rule 18 of the Civil Procedure Rules.
19.I note that the Respondent went on to submit that;
20.As the execution process had not previously commenced, it follows that, when the Respondent decided to take steps to execute the decree after the Court of Appeal had dismissed the appeal, the process of execution was starting from scratch.
21.The Respondent acknowledged that the impugned process was the first. I say so because, at paragraph 15 of the submissions, he said;
22.In other words, there was no process of execution which had been commenced earlier; and which was then put on hold by a stay order.
23.As the Respondent was commencing the process of executing after the lapse of more than a year, from the date when the decree was issued, it was imperative that the said process should have commenced by way of a Notice to Show Cause.
24.Meanwhile, as can be seen from the submission cited above, the Respondent wrote to the Applicant, demanding payment of Kshs 1,591,379/=.
25.Yet, as the Respondent said (at paragraph 9 of his submissions);
26.If the only amount being pursued by the Respondent was Kshs 135,300/=, there is no justification whatsoever why the Respondent had demanded for Kshs 1,591,300/=. There is also no justification why the application for execution contained the following details;
27.Those figures do not add up at all. For, if there had been nil payment towards the decretal amount of Kshs 909,381/=; if interest, costs and collection fees were added to that sum, the balance could not be Kshs 174,684/=.
28.I therefore find that the execution process was irregular, from that perspective.
29.And because the said process was instituted in a manner that was not in keeping with Order 22 Rule 18 of the Civil Procedure Rules, I find that the process was a nullity.
30.In the result, the application dated 19th October 2021 is allowed. The Warrants of attachment issued on 18th October 2021 are lifted and recalled.
31.The auctioneer’s charges, if any, arising from the execution process, shall be borne by the Respondent.
32.The Respondent will also pay to the Applicant, the costs of the application.
33.It is so ordered because there is no grounds upon which the Court can deviate from the provisions of Section 27 of the Civil Procedure Act, which stipulates that costs shall follow the event unless the Court shall, for good reason, otherwise order.