MOMBASA – Pwani University Vice Chancellor Prof Mohamed Rajab got a reprieve after a court pardoned him for being in contempt of an order issued relating to a tender for provision of security services at the institution.
Justice Eric Ogola of the High Court in Mombasa noted that Prof Rajab was a first time offender, remorseful and came across as an honest professional.
The judge also noted that Prof Rajab was a very busy professor of a university, and had honoured summons to appear in court and mitigate.
“This court also notes that the contempt was not willfully done and subsequently the contemnor (Prof Rajab) has already discharged the contempt,” said Justice Ogola.
Justice Ogola said the court was satisfied that Prof Rajab deserved the mercy of the court hence pardoning him
In his mitigation, Prof Rajab told the court that he is a law abiding citizen who has served in the university sector for the last 33 years.
The VC urged the court to be lenient on him and that the university had already complied with the order of the court.
On May 12, the court had ruled that the accounting officer of the university- the VC-was in contempt of orders issued on September 11 last year temporarily barring him and the institution from signing any contract with Catch Security Link Ltd in respect to the tender.
“The first interested party (Pwani University) is hereby ordered and directed to attend this court on June 2 for purposes of mitigation and sentence,” ruled Justice Ogola.
The court also found that the institution and the VC were in contempt of the court orders.
The signing of the contract a day after a ruling by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) was a clear manifestation that the institution and its accounting officer (VC) acted in bad faith, the court said.
It (court) further noted that the contract allegedly entered into between the University and Catch Security Links Ltd is null and void, thus court orders issued on September 11 last year remain in force, until the case filed by Guardforce Group Ltd, also a security firm, is determined.
Justice Ogola said the accounting officer’s refusal to comply with the orders was calculated to undermine the rule of law, and aims at defeating the ends of justice.
“The interested parties’ contemptuous acts will not only interfere with the cause of justice but will also likely cause substantial loss to the applicant,” ruled Justice Ogola.
Guardforce Group Ltd sued the PPARB challenging its decision dismissing a request for a review application it made regarding the tender.
It then filed an application for contempt against the VC for disobeying the court order, which temporarily stopped the signing of any contract with Catch Security Link Ltd.
Guardforce Group Ltd argued that the court had restrained the institution and the VC from signing any contract with Catch Security Links Ltd regarding the tender.
The security firm told the court that the orders were served upon PPARB, the university, the VC and Catch Security Links Ltd.
It also said that contrary to the orders, the VC and Catch Security Links Ltd proceeded to execute the contract for provision of security services effective October 1 last year.
Guardforce Group Ltd told the court that pursuant to the signing of the contract, Catch Security Link Ltd took over the provision of security services at the institution.
It argued that the University, VC and Catch Security Links Ltd were in contempt of court orders being an interference with the administration of justice.
Guardforce Group Ltd also argued that actions of University, the VC and Catch Security Links Ltd will not only interfere with the cause of justice but also likely to cause substantial and irreparable losses to it.