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Italian businessman sues landlord for contempt of court

A Malindi-based Italian businesswoman wants her landlady committed to civil jail for disobeying a court order restraining the landlady from evicting the trader from a luxurious restaurant.

Mariangella Beltrami, a director of the luxurious Karen Blixen Bar and Restaurant, wants Ms Elizabeth Bertoni, the proprietor of Mtwapa Bay Investments that owns the restaurant, cited for contempt of court.

Karen Blixen is an international bar and restaurant situated along Lamu Road and is usually patronized by Italian tourists visiting the Malindi tourist resort town.

Through lawyer Jimmy Sausi Ochoki, Ms Beltrami told Malindi Chief Magistrate William Chepseba that Mtwapa Bay Investments initiated the process of evicting them from the restaurant despite the court order restraining its directors from doing so.

Ms Bertoni has been sued alongside her company and her deceased husband Roberto Marini, according to court papers seen by the Kenya News Agency.

Mr. Chepseba issued the court order on December 28, 2019, restraining the defendants from evicting Beltrami until the case was heard and determined.

The defendants however filed a preliminary objection against the order and initiated the process of evicting the tenants before the determination of the application, according to the lawyer.

 Mr. Ochoki said the authority, respect and integrity of the court orders were being put to risk by the respondents, who he said were not entitled to interpret the orders in a way that favours them.

 ”If the present situation is allowed to prevail and the respondents heard on any issue without complying with the orders already issued, there will be total chaos in the administration of justice,” he said adding, “The plaintiff/applicants will suffer irreparable loss while the defendants will benefit out of their wrongdoing.”

Ms Beltrami said she had been running the business at the premises together with her husband, Roberto Ciarolella, since 2009.

 She said the couple entered a lease agreement with the Mtwapa Bay Investments limited through its directors, Elizabeth Bertoni and her now deceased husband Roberto Marini. They agreed on a monthly rent of Sh50,000.

 

Ms Beltrami said in 2015, she and her husband agreed with the owners to buy part of the property and paid a deposit of 50,000 Euros (Sh 6 million).

 The deposit would allow them to continue with their business without paying any further rent till the process of subdivision and transfer of the property is completed, she claimed.

 However, the owners of the property kept postponing the subdivision of the land on which the property stands and later started restraining the restaurant directors from accessing the premises, leading to the initial suit.

 

By Emmanuel Masha

 

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