1.The Claimant/Applicant through a Notice of Motion dated 14th December 2021 expressed to be brought pursuant to the provisions of sections 1A, 1B and 3A of the 3 Civil Procedure Act 2010,Order 22 Rule 35 and Order 51 Rule 1 of the Civil Procedure Rules 2010,seeks the following orders:-a.That the Application be certified urgent and heard on priority basis.b.That Samuel Njoroge Mwangi, of P.O Box 9808 G.P.O, Nairobi, Bernard Wachai Njoroge of P.O Box 9808 G.P.O, Nairobi and Gladys Waruguru Wachai P.O Box 9808 G.P.O Nairobi, being the Directors/Shareholders of the Respondent Company(Judgment Debtor) herein at the time of the institution of this suit be summoned to attend to this honourable court for their examination on the judgment debtor’s assets, bank accounts and to produce all its books of account including but not limited to the judgment Debtor’s annual financial statements.c.That any other past or present Directors of the Respondent’s Company (Judgment Debtor) herein at the time of the institution of this suit be summoned to attend to this Honourable Court for his/their examination on the Judgment debtor’s assets, bank accounts and to produce all its books of account including but not limited to the Judgment Debtor’s annual financial statements.d.That in default of the said Directors complying with the above Orders two (2) and or three (3), the Honourable Court be pleased to order that the said Directors be held personally liable to pay the Applicant the decretal sum of Ksh.2,926,666.70 plus costs of Ksh.293,347.000 totalling to Ksh.3,220,013.70.e.That the Costs of this Application be borne by the Judgment Debtor.
2.The Application is anchored on the grounds obtaining on the face of the same and those brought out in the supporting affidavit sworn by the Applicant on the 14th December 2021.
3.The Respondent opposes the Application upon basis of the grounds set out in the Preliminary Objection dated the 23rd March 2022.
The Claimant’ Application.
4.The Claimant/Applicant contends that the Judgment Debtor has not taken any step to satisfy the outstanding decretal sum plus taxed costs of Ksh.3, 220,013.70 despite being aware of the same.
5.The Applicant avers that it shall be prudent that the Directors of the Judgment Debtor be cross-examined to enable him get information on whether the Judgement debtor has any property or means to satisfy the decree. The cross examination shall provide information that aid, trace its assets and consequently execution of the decree herein.
6.It is the Applicant’s position that Samuel Njoroge Mwangi, Bernard Wachai Njoroge and Gladys Waruguru Wachai of P.O Box 9808 Nairobi respectively being the Directors/Shareholders of the Respondent Company herein at the institution of this suit be summoned to attend to this Court for their examination on the Judgment Debtor’s assets, bank account and the production of the books of account including but not limited to the Judgment Debtor’s annual financial statements.
7.Finally, the Applicant contends that it is in the interest of substantive justice that this Application be allowed to allow him realise the fruits of his judgment.
The Respondent’s response.
8.The Respondent/Judgment Debtor contends that the Claimant/Applicant has failed to show any attempts to recover the decree from the Respondent.
9.It is averred that the Claimant /Applicant has failed to illustrate any form of fraud, criminal activities deliberate on the part of the Directors individually to warrant the lifting of the veil.
10.It is the Respondent’s position that that the Claimant/Applicant is on a fishing expedition and the present Application is thus mischievous, frivolous and an abuse of the Court process.
11.The Application was canvassed by way of the written submissions.
The Claimant/Applicant’s submissions.
12.The Claimant/Applicant filed his submissions on the 30th March 2022 distilling two issues for determination thus:
13.On the first issue, the Applicant submits that the Respondent has not taken any step to satisfy the outstanding decretal sum plus the taxed costs arising from the judgment delivered herein on 15th March 2019 despite being aware of the same. That it is prudent for the directors to be cross-examined to enable trace it assets and the disclosure whether the judgment debtor has any property and the means of satisfying the decree. Reliance is placed on the case of Samuel Ojwang Juma vs Saphire Collections Limited (2021)eKLR where it was held:
15.On the second issue, the Claimant/Applicant submits that this is not a fishing expedition as purported by the Respondent in its preliminary objection but a lawful process within the confines of the law in situations where the Applicant cannot trace the assets of the Respondent. Reliance is placed on the case of Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatshappji N.V vs Africair Management & Logistics Limited (2021) eKLR.
16.The Applicant further submits that the Respondent’s Contention that he has not demonstrated that he made attempts to execute the decree, is misleading. The record is will reveal the contrary.
17.The Claimant/Applicant submits that a keen look at his application leaves no doubt that it makes not any prayer for lifting of the corporate veil as the issue of lifting the corporate veil as alleged by the Respondent. That he is aware that orders for cross-examination of directors of a company cannot be sought contemporaneously with those of lifting of the fail. On this legal position, he placers reliance on the holding in the case of Oni Properties Limited vs Signal Investments Limited (2021) eKLR where it was held:
The Respondent’s Submissions.
18.The Respondent filed its written submission on 29th May 2021.
19.The Respondent submits that since the Applicant obtained the decree of this Honourable court sometime in 2019, he has not attempted to recover the said sum of the decree from the Respondent. That the only time he attempted was when he commenced execution proceedings, however, against a wrong party.
20.Prayer D of the Application, cannot be granted as if it were, it shall have the implication of holding the directors of the Respondent liable to satisfy the decree. This Court cannot sanction that. To support this point, reliance is placed on the case of Electrowatts Limited vs Countryside Supplier Limited & Another (2014) eKLR.
21.Finally, it is submitted that that the Claimant/Applicant’s Application herein is defective in law and the same should be dismissed with costs.
The Claimant/Applicant’s Supplementary submissions.
22.The Claimant/Applicant filed supplementary submissions on 14th June 2022 ventilating only one issue for determination thus:
a. Whether the Preliminary Objection ought to be upheld
23.The Applicant submits that the preliminary objection is not one properly taken as it is not on pure points of law. It is blurred with factual details. To buttress the point that a preliminary objection has to be on a pure point of law, reliance has been placed on case of Jitendra Liladhar Nagda & 3 others vs Willis Ouma Ondiek & Another (2021) eKLR where it was held:
24.In the case of Oraro v Mbaja 2005 KLR 141 Ojwang J (as he then was) observed as follows:
Analysis and determination.
25.I have carefully considered the Application, affidavits and the submissions by both Counsel and the following issues present themselves for determination thus:-a.Whether the Preliminary Objection is merited.b.Whether the Respondent’s Directors should be summoned to attend this court for cross-examination.c.Who should bear the costs of this Application
Whether the Respondent’s Preliminary Objection is merited.
26.The case of Mukisa Biscuits Manufacturing Ltd –vs- West End Distributors (1969) EA 696 is the locus classicus on the issue of what constitutes a preliminary objection. The Court rendered itself;
27.In the same case Sir Charles Newbold, P. stated:
29.In view of the foregoing, this Court shall seek to establish whether the grounds outlined in the Preliminary Objection herein, meet the threshold set out in the aforementioned cases.
30.I have keenly considered the Respondent’s Preliminary Objection dated 23rd March 2022, the grounds therein are not anchored on pure points of law but on facts. A preliminary objection legally and properly taken cannot be anchored on facts which are contested and which shall require to be ascertained by taking evidence, under the rules of evidence. I find the Preliminary Objection dated 23rd March 2022, without merit.
Whether the Respondent’s Directors should be summoned before this court for examination.
31.No doubt, judgment was entered in favour of the Claimant against the Respondent herein. A decree was issued and later warrant of attachment of moveable property in execution of Decree issued. The Applicant contends that the Decretal sum has never been satisfied to date. The Judgment debtor has not made any attempts to satisfy the same despite being aware of the decree. It is the Applicant’s position that the efforts to trace the Respondent/Judgment Debtors’ assets have failed and it is proper for this honourable court to summon the Directors of the Respondent Company for the purposes of examination.
32.Order 22 Rule 35 provides for the calling of persons for the purposes of examination as far as the satisfaction of decrees are concerned. It states:
33.I must say at the outset that a party invoking the court’s jurisdiction under Order 22 Rule 35 should not invoke the same contemporaneously with that for lifting of the corporate veil. One has to choose whether to come under Order 22 Rule 35 or apply for lifting of the corporate veil or any orders of depositing money in court. It is assumed that for one to invoke the provisions of Order 22 Rule 35 of the Civil Procedure Rules, attempts to trace the assets of the company for purposes of execution have failed. That is why the Applicant is at liberty to ask the court for an order under Order 22 Rule 35 to assist in the execution process. It is if this does not work out, that the Applicant can move the Court for lifting of the Corporate fail. See the case of Oni Properties Limited vs Signal Investment Limited (2021) eKLR.
34.The Respondent has firmly opposed the orders sought for cross examination of the Directors, arguing that such order[s] amount to holding Directors liable to satisfy a decree against the company, and lifting of the Respondent company’s veil. I have considered the grounds upon which the Application is based and I have gained undoubtable impression that it only seeks the examination of the Respondent’s directors and in default. Therefore, the Respondent’s objection is not well founded.
35.By reason of the foregoing, the Applicant’s Application dated the 14th December 2021 is hereby allowed in terms of prayer (b) and (c).
36.The Cost of this Application to be borne by the Respondent.