Sh8m in crew wages miss­ing from ac­count

MV Pon­mudi crew moved to court in 2011, to de­mand pay­ment of 3 months’ wages

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties Coast - MKAMBURI MWAWASI @Mkam­buriM

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.

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