Sh8m in crew wages missing from account
MV Ponmudi crew moved to court in 2011, to demand payment of 3 months’ wages
More than Sh8 million deposited at the Mombasa law courts Admiralty Marshal account is reported missing. The money was to be used to pay 10 former crew members of the MV Ponmudi.
The ship in which the crew was transporting communication equipment to Somalia in 2010 developed mechanical problems midway and it had to be towed back to Kenya. The crew moved to court in 2011, demanding to be paid their wages for the three months they were at sea.
In July 2012, High Court judge Mary Kasango ordered the ship be sold to pay the crew members. The ship was sold to Kraal Scrap Metal Enterprises in September 2012 for $US238,432 (about Sh21 million at the time). The money was deposited into the Admiralty Marshal account. But in June this year, the 10 say that they realised Sh8 million was missing.
On Wednesday, the crew members told the Star that in June they were informed there was only $US170,000 (Sh17 million). They include Veronica Kanyi, Titus Kilonzi, Felix Kimweli, Hamisi Mwenyedi, Polycarp Lemayan and Edwin Biwot.
They want the deputy registrar to explain where the money is.
The decree reflecting the amount settled by the deputy registrar is yet to be filed at the High Court, since no payment was made. Claimant Kanyi said efforts to have the missing money accounted for have been unsuccessful.
Mombasa law courts deputy registrar Ivy Wasike promised to investigate and determine the signatories of the accounts when the money went missing. “Up to now, the whereabouts of the money is not known, even as the judiciary maintains they will investigate,” Kanyi said.
Wasike yesterday said she is reconciling all the files into which the money was deposited to establish if the missing cash was wrongly allocated to another file. “We request we be allowed 14 days to reconcile all the files,” she said.
The crew will immediately be paid when the money is found, she said.