Republic v Trans Nzoia County Public Service Board & 2 others; Sifuna & Sifuna Advocates (Exparte) (Judicial Review E011 of 2022)  KEHC 17120 (KLR) (8 December 2022) (Judgment)
Neutral citation:  KEHC 17120 (KLR)
Republic of Kenya
Judicial Review E011 of 2022
AC Mrima, J
December 8, 2022
Trans Nzoia County Public Service Board
Chairman, Trans Nzoia County Public Service Board
Secretary, Trans Nzoia County Public Service Board
Sifuna & Sifuna Advocates
1.By way of Judicial Review proceedings, the Ex-parte Applicant herein, Prof. Nixon Sifuna p/a Sifuna & Sifuna Advocates, invoked the jurisdiction of this Court and vide an application by way of a Notice of Motion dated 19th May, 2022 sought the following reliefs: -a.An order of mandamus do issue compelling the Respondents to forthwith and without any delay pay or cause to be paid out or the revenues of Trans Nzoia County Public Service Boardthe sum of Kshs. 1,573,900.00 (Kenya Shillings one million five hundred and seventy-three thousand nine hundred) to satisfy the Decree passed in Kitale High Court Miscellaneous Civil Application No. 5 of 2020;b.The said payment be made in full within thirty (30) days from the date of this order, and in default, a Notice to Show Cause be issued against the 1st Respondent’s Chairman (The 2nd Respondent), and Secretary (The 3rd Respondent) to Show Cause why they should not be cited and committed to jail for six months for contempt of court;c.Costs of these judicial review proceedings be granted and assessed at Kshs. 100,000.00.
2.The gravamen of the instant proceedings was that the Ex-parte Applicant was instructed to defend the Trans Nzoia County Public Service Board in the High Court at Kitale Misc. Civil Application No. 50 of 2015 Republic vs. The County Government of Trans Nzoia & The Trans Nzoia County Public Service Board (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Civil suit’).
3.On conclusion of the civil suit, the Ex-parte Applicant filed its Bill of Costs in Kitale Miscellaneous Application No. 52 of 2019. The culmination of those proceedings was that the said Bill of Costs was taxed at Kshs. 1,573,900/00. A Certificate of Costs for taxation was drawn on 9th October, 2019 and was annexed in the Notice of Motion under consideration.
4.The Ex-parte Applicant lamented that efforts to have the taxed costs settled had been futile and the sums remained due and owing. The Ex-parte Applicant urged this Court to grant the reliefs sought as it was in the interest of justice.
5.During the hearing of the substantive motion, this Court confirmed and was satisfied that service of the pleadings upon the Respondents was properly effected. The Respondents, however, elected not to defend these proceedings or at all.
6.This Court is now invited to determine whether the present motion is with merit and ought to be granted in the circumstances.
7.The Exparte Applicant averred that under the County Government Act, a County Public Service Board is a legal entity capable of suing and being sued in its own name and responsible for its own debts. He further averred that by virtue of that proposition, the proceedings stood merited. Reference was made to Section 57 of the County Government Act, Cap. 40 of the Laws of Kenya (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act’).
8.Being a creation of the Act, a County Public Service Board is part of a County Government. Under Section 59(1) of the Act, the County Public Service Board discharges its functions on behalf of the County Government. The Board is also supposed to deliver its annual report to the County Assembly and also publish it in the County Gazette not later than seven days after the report has been delivered to the County Assembly.
9.In that regard, execution of orders and decrees against such an entity are special in nature. They must take the format set out in the Act. Consequently, an Applicant must meet the threshold set out in Section 21 of the Act as read together with Order 29 of the Civil Procedure Rules for an order of mandamus to issue.
10.Section 21 of the Act provides as follows: -(1)Where in any civil proceedings by or against the Government, or in proceedings in connection with any arbitration in which the Government is a party, any order (including an order for costs) is made by any Court in favour of any person against the Government, or against a Government department, or against an officer of the Government as such, the proper officer of the Court shall, on an application in that behalf made by or on behalf of that person at any time after the expiration of twenty – one days from the date of the order or, in case the order provides for the payment of costs and the costs required to be taxed, at any time after the costs have been taxed, whichever is the later, issue to that person a certificate in the prescribed form containing particulars of the order.Provided that if the Court so directs, a separate certificate shall be issued with respect to the costs (if any) ordered to be paid to the applicant.(2)A copy of any certificate issued under this section may be served by the person in whose favour the order is made upon the Attorney-General.(3)If the order provides for the payment of any money by way of damages or otherwise, or of any costs, the certificate shall state the amount so payable, and the Accounting Officer for the Government department concerned shall, subject as hereinafter provided, pay to the person entitled or to his advocate the amount appearing by the certificate to be due to him together with interest, if any, lawfully due thereon.Provided that the Court by which any such order as aforesaid is made or any court to which an appeal against the order lies may direct that, pending an appeal or otherwise, payment of the whole of any amount so payable, or any part thereof, shall be suspended, and if the certificate has not been issued may order any such direction to be inserted therein.(4)Save as aforesaid, no execution or attachment or process in the nature thereof shall be issued out of any such Court for enforcing payment by the Government of any such money or costs as aforesaid, and no person shall be individually liable under any order for the payment by the Government, or any Government department, or any officer of the Government as such, of any money or costs.(5)This section shall, with necessary modifications, apply to any civil proceedings by or against a County Government, or in any proceedings in connection with any arbitration in which a county government is a party.
11.Expounding on the foregone my Lordships Visram and Ibrahim, JJ (as then were) discussed the rationale for the immunity against the normal execution proceedings against the Government and by extension the foregoing elaborate procedure. This is what they stated in Kisya Investments Ltd vs. Attorney General (2005) 1KLR 74: -
12.In Permanent Secretary Office of the President Ministry of Internal Security & Another ex parte Nassir Mwadhihi (2014) eKLR, the High Court further stated as follows: -33.It therefore follows from the foregoing discourse that the rules applicable to normal execution proceedings by way of committal to civil jail are not necessarily applicable to enforcement of an order of the Court arising from an order of mandamus by way of committal. It must be remembered that an application for an order of mandamus seeking an order compelling the Government to satisfy a decree is a very elaborate procedure. Before the Court issues such an order, there must be proof that the provisions of the Government Proceedings Act have been complied with respect to issuance of certificate of costs and certificate of order against the Government. After the issuance of the aforesaid documents, just like in any application for mandamus, there must be a demand for payment made by or on behalf of the decree holder to the relevant department seeking payment since in an application for an order of mandamus, the law as a general rule requires a demand by the applicant for action and refusal as a prerequisite to the granting of an order, though there are exceptions to the rule. See The District Commissioner Kiambu vs. R and Others Ex Parte Ethan Njau Civil Appeal No. 2 of 1960  EA 109; R vs The Brecknock And Abergavenny Canal Co. 111 ER and R vs. The Bristol and Exeter Railway Co 114 ER 859.34.The said elaborate procedure is further meant to give adequate notice to the Government to make arrangement to satisfy the decree. The procedure, in my view is not meant to relieve the Government from meeting its statutory obligations to satisfy decrees and orders of the Court……...
13.This Court need not re-emphasize the need for strict compliance with Section 21 of the Act which in any event is the law of the land.
14.In this matter, the Court gathers from the record that a Decree and a Certificate of Costs in the civil suit were drawn and issued. The Court did not set its legal eyes on any Certificate of Order.
15.There is a specific procedure on how the Certificate of Order required under the Act is obtained. The procedure is contained in Order 29 of the Civil Procedure Rules. Under Rule 3 thereof, the application is made to the Deputy Registrar in the High Court or to the Court in the subordinate Court. The format of the Certificate of Order is provided in Appendix A Form No. 22 of the Civil Procedure Rules. Form No. 23 provides the format for a Certificate of Costs in the event it is separately issued.
16.Once a party obtains the Certificate of Order and the Certificate of Costs, in the event the Certificate of Costs is obtained separately, together with the Decree, then such a party must satisfy the Court of service of those documents upon the party named in the Certificates. In this case there is neither evidence of issuance of the Certificates nor service thereof on the Respondents or their Advocates.
17.This Court, therefore, finds no difficulty in finding that the Ex-parte Applicant did not fully comply with the legal requirements for an order of mandamus to issue. The application is premature and cannot stand.
18.The upshot is that the Notice of Motion dated 19th May, 2022 is hereby struck out with no order on costs.
DELIVERED, DATED AND SIGNED AT KITALE THIS 8TH DAY OF DECEMBER, 2022.A. C. MRIMAJUDGEJudgment delivered virtually in the presence of: -Mr. Mokua, Learned Counsel for the Ex-parte Applicant.No appearance for the Respondents.Kirong/Regina – Court Assistants