A lawyer in Kakamega County has initiated legal action against Mumias East MP Peter Salasya, seeking general damages for character defamation, psychological and emotional distress, as well as punitive and exemplary damages.
Lawyer Edwin Wawire Wafula claims Salasya attacked him physically and verbally for handling a case in which the first-time MP is accused of failing to pay back Ksh.500,000 loaned out to him during the August 2022 elections.
Wawire Wafula alleges that Salasya assaulted him on two separate occasions last week in Kakamega. The lawyer claims that the attacks occurred while he was representing the alleged creditor, Robert Malenya Lutta.
During the first incident, the lawyer recounts that Salasya verbally insulted and threatened him at Vovo Hotel around 6 p.m. Subsequently, at Vault Hotel, he alleges that Salasya physically attacked him.
In both instances, the lawyer states that the respective hotel management intervened, coming to his rescue by expelling MP Salasya from the premises.
Subsequently, the lawyer lodged a formal complaint at Kakamega Police Station, accusing the lawmaker of attempting to tarnish his reputation and issuing threats to his life.
Wafula said Salasya insulted him thus: “You thought I wouldn’t find you. You are a very small thing before me and you will not move out of this place until I finish up with you.”
“The words uttered by Mr Salasya in public, in their natural meaning, depict me as a conman, a stupid man, a fraudster, a satanic man and a man with no integrity. I, therefore, want him to define these words before the Small Claims Court because they were not only defamatory but amount to threats,” the advocate said.
Wafula argues that if his clients were to take the words seriously, it could prompt them to avoid seeking his legal services, directly impacting his source of livelihood.
This follows the court’s directive for MP Salasya to appear on November 8, 2023, to address the debt claim against him. Businessman Robert Malenya Lutta alleges that the MP did not fulfill the agreed-upon repayment terms within the stipulated two months.
On October 30, 2023, Resident Magistrate Gladys Kiama instructed Wafula to serve the respondent (Salasya) with the court papers summoning him to appear in court on November 8 for the hearing of the case.
In the preceding case at the Small Claims Court, Lutta expressed his intention to use the Civil Procedure Act (Section 38), which sanctions the imprisonment of debt defaulters. This measure could be employed to commit Salasya to civil jail if found guilty of defaulting. The decision to pursue this course of action came after an out-of-court settlement proposed by the MP fell through.
“We were good friends for so many years and when Mr Salasya, who was contesting for the Mumias East parliamentary seat requested me to fund his bid. I advanced him the amount on December 13 last year,” said Lutta in his court papers.
He wants the court to compel Salasya to reimburse the money, along with interest, and cover the costs associated with the case.