Former Subukia MP Koigi Wa Wamwere has lost a Sh279,000 compensation claim against the Co-operative Bank of Kenya for breach of a business contract.
Mr Wamwere, together with Ms Nduta Koigi and Sauti Ya Wananchi Radio & TV Ltd, wanted the High Court to overturn the ruling of a magistrate’s court that had dismissed their claim in 2015.
In the appeal, they wanted the bank to be forced to compensate them a total of Sh279,297 which was the loss suffered in February 2014 when purchasing an electronic equipment named flowmeter.
They said the loss was as a result of the bank’s delay to pay the supplier Sh600,000 for the purchase of the machine.
Following the delay by the bank, the supplier sold the equipment to another customer. This forced Mr Wamwere together with Ms Koigi to buy a similar machine from another supplier at a cost of Sh879,297.
They filed the court case seeking to be paid for the loss suffered due to the bank’s delay to conclude the transaction which was done through electronic funds transfer (EFT).
But Justice Hilary Chemitei dismissed the appeal and upheld the lower court’s decision, saying the ruling and analysis was consistent with the facts and evidence brought to court.
Justice Chemitai said the appellants failed to mitigate or take steps to protect themselves from suffering the financial loss. They did not demonstrate that other than the earlier supplier of the machine, Flowmatics Ltd, there were no other suppliers of the machine they intended to procure, he added.
The judge said that the bank cannot be blamed and had no liability because the appellants also filled the form which did not ensure that the funds were transferred within the period they desired.
The court noted that the appellants chose to use EFT, which does not transfer money immediately, compared to real time gross settlement (RTGS) which transfers money within three hours.
Further, the appellants did not notify the bank of the urgency of the transaction.
“It is clear that the quickest way was to have transferred the money through RTGS mode. The appellants, on the contrary, chose the EFT mode. Who was to blame for this? I think the appellants. They had the choice of the two and perhaps had they inquired from the bank, they would have been directed given the urgency to wire the money to their supplier,” said Justice Chemitai.
Ms Nancy Mburu, the bank’s branch manager, confirmed that the appellants filled the EFT forms on February 12, 2014, which is usually effected after two days. She said that there was no indication that the money was to reach the recipient on the same date.
She said that the RTGS mode of transferring money was the quicker option. She added that the bank was not to blame as it had acted on the instructions of the appellants to transfer the money via EFT mode.
Court filings indicated that Sauti Ya Wananchi Radio & TV Ltd, through its directors, Mr Wamwere and Ms Koigi, wanted to purchase the equipment on behalf of their other company — Nyakonga Enterprises Limited — which Mr Wamwere was the director of.
They then went to the bank, where they filled the electronic funds transfer forms for the sum of Sh600,000 in favour of the said Flowmatics limited.
The said sum was to be paid to the supplier immediately as time was of essence for there was no other available equipment with similar prices on the market.
Mr Wamwere testified that he filled the EFT form with an assurance that the money was to be transferred within one day.