Judge wants Sh7m from bank over defamation

Mr Justice Nicholas Ombija is seeking Sh7 million from a bank as compensation for defamation.

The judge urged the Commercial Court to order the Kenya Commercial Bank to pay him for rejecting his Visa Card when he had money in his account.

In final submissions tendered by lawyer Cecil Miller, the Malindi resident judge is seeking a composite figure of Sh6 million and another Sh1 million for breach of contract.

Mr Miller submitted that his client was defamed by the bank thrice when his Visa card was declined at the Inter-Continental and Nakumatt Ukay in Westlands, Nairobi, on April 19 and May 3 and 4, last year.

“The judge was greatly humbled and humiliated by those experiences before employees of the two institutions who held the judge with esteem,” Mr Miller told Lady Justice Joyce Khaminwa.

When he testified before Lady Justice Khaminwa, the judge said the Director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission, Mr Justice Aaron Ringera, witnessed for him the contract forms when he opened the Visa account.

The judge said he had enough money when he was subjected to the ordeal. “The bank subjected me to considerable amount of distress, agony, mental torture, humiliation, scandal, opprobrium and contempt in the eyes of the public,” he testified.

Lacked funds

“I was surprised to be told I lacked funds in my account yet I had deposited over Sh19,000 in my Visa account,” the judge testified and tabled evidence.

Mr Miller said his client was no longer held in esteem at the five star hotel and in the supermarket. “Employees at the supermarket don’t want to serve him as they view him as one who lacks funds in his Visa account,” a supervisor at Nakumatt testified.

Posted on THE NATION on July 1, 2009