(Continued from Madam General)
“I am Sharon’s lawyer, yet I was not notified by the judge or his clerk or anyone at the registry that there was a judgment being delivered today. Am I just supposed to believe it because you have said it? I need to talk to the judge before we vote,” Harry says, rising up.
“Okay, but hurry up.”
Harry goes to Sharon’s office where he calls the court clerk and confirms that the judgment was indeed delivered in chambers in the morning. He quickly drafts a notice of appeal and an application to stay the decision of the High Court pending the appeal and emails them to an associate in his office, with instructions to print and file them at the Court of Appeal immediately on a certificate of urgency.
Once that is sent, he starts working his phone, seeking audience with a friendly judge. He finds audience with a former lecturer who taught him at the University and explains the situation to him. The judge agrees to hear the application. Harry’s associate files the notice of appeal and the application to stay the execution of the High Court’s decision. With the help of a friendly clerk, the application is placed before Justice (Prof) Mark Ombot.
Justice Ombot listens to the arguments made by Harry’s associate and grants the orders stopping Peter and Simon from interfering with the company until the main appeal is heard. The court clerk helps Harry’s associate with the typing and printing of the orders, and even finds a deputy registrar to authenticate them. The associate then scans the orders with this phone and emails them to Harry. Harry prints them using the printer in Sharon’s office and walks back to the boardroom.
Harry finds his wife is engaged in a heated exchange with her brothers. He smiles when he realizes what she is doing. When he took too long, her brothers started getting impatient. So Sharon started throwing jabs at them knowing too well that their bloated egos would not allow them to let any of it slide. The more they argued, the more time passed without their realizing it.
“What took you that long?” Peter snaps when Harry steps back into the boardroom. His smug demeanor has been replaced by weary irritation. If there is one thing that he and his brother hate, it is being reminded by their sister about their failure in business.
Peter’s wife comes from a wealthy family. An engineer by profession, she is the CEO of the group of companies founded by her father. Peter is a lawyer but not a very bright one. He was pushed through school by the old man Lerian. Peter often said that he didn’t know why he was bothering with school yet he did not have to seek employment ‘like riff raffs’. So he spent much of his time playing truant or being suspended for smuggling alcohol into school. He was nearly expelled once when he was accused of smuggling prostitutes into the school dormitories.
He went through law school in a drunken stupor, and it is a miracle that he passed the bar exam (in his third attempt). He runs a law firm whose main, and probably only client, is his wife’s group of companies. So he still manages to live respectably. Joan Musa, his wife, doesn’t allow him to come near any aspect of her business though, especially after his own business collapsed.
Whenever Sharon wants to get under his skin she reminds him that his wife literally feeds him. That is usually enough to drive him nuts. He wants to take over the Lerian Group hoping that he will claim back his esteem, which has been battered by years of being funded and controlled by his wife. But Sharon knows that Peter doesn’t have the money to fight her. His wife Joan must be funding this coup, including the High Court judge’s apparent bribery.
What Peter probably doesn’t know is that his wife is not helping him to get back on his feet: Joan is a corporate shark and her only interest is to add Lerian Group to the Musa Group of Companies. Sharon doesn’t know what Joan’s game plan is, but she knows there is one. She has been in the game long enough to recognize a hungry shark lurking in the neighborhood.
Simon is their mother’s darling. He was the ‘good boy’. He never smoked, or drank and as far as Sharon can tell, he abstained from sex until the day he tied the knot with his American wife Lilian. He was a church boy through and through. He was also the brightest in the family. He was an A student and cruised through school with relative ease. He completed his undergraduate studies in engineering at the top of his class, with First Class Honors. He did his masters in Australia, again finishing at the top of his class. He did his doctorate in the US.
He got a job in the US and married an American woman, Lilian. Life was good for him until a friend convinced him that it would be a good idea to come back home, start his own construction company then peddle his father’s influence to secure government contracts. So he came back home and started a firm with that friend. But to their consternation, the old man refused to lean on government officers to get them contracts. He told them point blank that if they wanted to be in business they would have to do clean business like him. But around that time, the old man made the decision to split up his company amongst his sons.
While Simon is a brilliant engineer and lecturer, he is simply not a businessman. He and his business partner managed to bankrupt his inheritance within two years. He went back to the US but failed to secure another job. So he came back home and got hired as a lecturer at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology. Now he is bitter professor frequently preaching against the ills of capitalism. The irony of the anti-capitalism crusader seeking to take over his kid sister’s company is lost on no one except him.
“I was appealing your decision. That is what took me so long,” Harry says, responding to Peter’s question.
“I have filed a notice of appeal and an ex parte application staying the decision of the High Court. We can take the vote now, but Livingstone is out.”
Sharon smiles. A tie will retain the status quo. Peter and Simon’s eyes are blazing, but it is obvious they no longer want the vote. Losing here means they cannot attempt a coup again until six months lapse. With Livingstone out, the motion is now Simon’s but he will need a seconder.
“Former director Livingstone Marana has filed a motion to temporarily remove the managing director. But since he was improperly on the Board when he moved the motion, that motion now rests on its seconder, Simon Lerian.
The motion now needs a seconder. So, who seconds the motion to remove the Managing Director?” Sharon says. She and Harry look at Peter, the only other remaining member of the Board. Peter knows he has lost even if he seconds the motion. He glares at her but says nothing. He doesn’t even raise his hand.
“By failing to get a seconder, the motion fails by a vote of three to one. It seems like we are done here, gentlemen. Please excuse me, I have a company to run,” she says, stepping out of the conference room.
“Harry what did you do?” Sharon asks her husband. They are now in her office.
“Nothing,” he replies, smiling sheepishly.
“I am not a lawyer but I don’t think people get court orders that quickly.”
“I may have pulled a few strings. But I did not bribe any judge, so relax.”
“Whatever you did, is it ethical?”
“My associate and I stretched the ethics rules a bit, but we did nothing illegal. I called the judge and convinced him that an illegality was about to be committed, so he agreed to hear the application. My associate explained it in detail while in court. A clerk at the registry helped him to speed things up, but no money exchanged hands.”
“And why didn’t you as my lawyer and husband tell me what you planned to do? You don’t want to know how anxious I was when you took so long. I was crossing my fingers hoping that those fools wouldn’t force a vote before you came back.”
“But in the end, you had faith in your husband, and it paid off.”
“Yea, but still, a text would have been awesome.”
“Can’t a man pleasantly surprise his wife anymore?” he asks, pretending to be hurt.
“Get out of my office,” Sharon says, smiling.
“As you wish, Madam General. But as your lawyer and husband, I am advising you to reconstitute the board today. The Articles give you that power as the sole surviving shareholder. Do it before those clowns rush to court to set aside those orders that I got. I am sure they are not going to fold their arms and let you win. But we should try and be a step ahead of them. I have drafted the necessary documents. Just sign them and I will do the rest,” Harry says, handing her an envelope.
Sharon smiles. Marrying Harry was a brilliant decision on her part, she concludes for the trillionth time. She opens the envelope, signs the documents and hands them to him.
“See you at the Intercontinental tonight. I am buying you dinner to celebrate your victory,” Harry says as he steps out of his wife’s office.
When Justice Ombot leaves the office in the evening, he has forgotten about the incident involving Harry and his in laws. He has had a tough day packed with hearings and he wants to forget it all for a while. He dismisses his driver and bodyguard and drives himself to an apartment in Westlands, where a young lady called Anna is waiting. He is the one who pays for this apartment, and has been seeing her for three months now.
The judge and his wife Margaret have been married for thirty two years now. Margaret is a Professor of Law at Kenyatta University. They met while they were still students. They are now empty nesters because all their three children are all grown up. Their marriage was a stable one, by and large, until the judge met Anna, this young advocate, three months ago. She is a stunning beauty but is also very bright and articulate. As he watched her argue her case before him and two other judges that first time, he knew he wanted to sleep with her. It was the first time in thirty two years that he had thought about cheating on his wife.
He goes to her apartment every weekday but does not spend the night unless Margaret is out of town. The judge spends the night in Anna’s apartment on those days when his wife is away attending her numerous conferences and workshops. The judge and his wife Margaret have been drifting apart for years, but they did not realize it because the children gave them a common ground. When the children left home, they realized that they were almost strangers to each other. Neither of them is anxious to get home anymore. Instead of trying to re-discover intimacy, they usually hide in their respective offices until late in the night.
Margaret frequently goes for her out-of-town and sometimes out-of-the-country workshops while the judge whiles away time in sports clubs. When Anna came along, the judge found that he could go and see his girlfriend without Margaret suspecting a thing, provided he gets home before midnight.
Last week Anna told him that she is pregnant, and since then she has been pressuring him to make their relationship public. According to her, she doesn’t want him to marry her, she just wants to be recognized so that in the event he dies, she will not be forced to go to court to prove the paternity of her child.
But Justice Ombot has been hesitant. How can he face his wife Margaret to tell her that he has made another woman pregnant? She will almost certainly divorce him. And his children might turn against him, out of sympathy for their mother. His reputation as a honest, God fearing family man will be shattered.
A cold war is raging between him and Anna, but he still goes to her apartment daily. When he gets to her apartment, Anna welcomes him enthusiastically. Which is strange considering that she has been treating him rather coolly since last week. But who can understand women? Maybe she has decided to accept the situation as it is. Or maybe the unborn child has decided that it likes the father.
They go through the usual routine. They take dinner then they cuddle as they watch a soap opera and later news. They go to bed at around 9.30 pm. They do not make love. After seeing each other daily for three months, they no longer make love every day. He wakes up at precisely 11pm, dresses and prepares to leave the apartment. It is time to go home to his dear wife.
He is surprised when Anna wakes up and hands him a mug of tea. She is usually fast asleep when he leaves, and he usually locks the door from outside with his copy of the key. But he accepts the tea and drinks it before heading out.
Harry and Sharon have just arrived home after their date when Harry sees the news on a lawyers’ WhatsApp group.
“Justice Ombot has died in a car crash,” he says aloud.
“Who is Justice Ombot?”
“The judge who gave me orders in the morning.”
“Are you saying…”
“Yes. I am sure your brothers have something to do with it. They have just declared war on us, and have made it clear that they will go to any length to win.”
(Continued Here. A kind request, if you are yet to like Sanctuaryside’s page on Facebook, please do so. You can also follow Sanctuaryside on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Remember to share the stories with your friends, and invite them to join out little community here. Thank you all for your support so far. I am grateful- Edward)
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