Six Kenyans have asked the court to suspend an out-of-court settlement that the Kenya Power signed with Nairobi lawyer Apollo Mboya, arguing that the deal did not sort out the main issues raised in the case.
The applicants claim that they were key in helping Mr Mboya build up the case through gathering of materials from Kenyans but says they were ‘heartbroken when he settled the case in breach of trust bestowed on him by Kenyans.’
Mr Mboya had filed a suit on behalf of consumers, petitioning against inflated and backdated bills the monopoly power distributor is accused of having sent to its customers since late last year. The two however recorded out-of-court settlement in October.
“This court be pleased to suspend the consent orders in this petition pending the hearing and determination of the substantive issues raised by the interested parties to this petition,” reads one of the orders sought by the applicants.
They want to be enjoined in the case as interested parties arguing that the case was started as a representative suit and they believe their interests have not been adequately addressed.
The six are Jerotich Seii, Eva Mutua, James Gitau, Wanjeri Nderu, Fredrick Asira and Victor Otieno.
They claim that they helped Mr Mboya set up an email account through which hundreds of electricity consumers submitted their petitions, and carrying out sensitisation campaigns.
“In a heart shattering moment, and flagrant breach of trust betswoed upon him by the people of Kenya, the 1st petitioner chose to settle this petition by entering into a consent order dated October 23, 2018,” they claim.
As part of the consent entered by Mr Mboya, aggrieved customers were spared disconnection for one month to allow such customers file any complaints.
The deal also saw Kenya Power commit to charge its customers strictly in accordance with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) – approved tariffs. The electricity distributor will also pay Mr Mboya and the Electricity Consumers Society of Kenya any costs incurred in the suit.
The High Court on October 22 adopted the consent bringing to a close one of Kenya’s first Class Action suits, whose outcome was expected to signal how aggrieved groups would pursue their rights in the courts of law.
Mr Mboya in January moved to court and obtained orders stopping Kenya Power from backdating power bills to recover Sh10.1 billion delayed fuel cost charges.
In August, the lawyer filed a fresh application claiming that the Energy Regulatory Commission’s July 30 new electricity tariff structure had increased the cost of electricity for domestic consumers in favour of minority, bulk power consumers.