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UK court extends period to allow more Mau Mau claimants

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Former Mau Mau veterans who did not benefit from the Sh2.6 billion pay out from the British government have until May 30 to file their claims, lawyers involved in the case said Tuesday.

Lawyer Cecil Miller whose firm Miller and Company is working with UK law firm Tandem Law said the High Court in Britain had extended the deadline for submitting claims from April 30 to May 30.

“Tandem Law will accept new genuine claimants upto until 5pm on April 30, 2014 to enable the firm to effectively process and verify new claims,” he said.

The litigation in UK is related to the torture, mistreatment, forced labour and wrongful detention of Mau Mau fighters by the British government during the 1952 State of Emergency.

Mr Miller said genuine claimants coming forward after April 30 can still register a claim, by contacting one the other four firms involved in the group litigation that include GT Law, Knights Law, Slater and Gordon or PKKamau/Glassbrooks.

“Our aim is to secure adequate and long-overdue financial compensation for claimants. In doing so we need to go to court to reach a settlement on behalf of our clients,” he said.

The lead solicitor for Tandem Law, Mr Freddie Cosgrove-Gibson, said progress had been made in the group litigation order although no agreement has been reached with UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

“Negotiations regarding settlement are not currently taking place. We remain committed to work with the court and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) bring these matters to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion,” Mr Cosgrove-Gibson.

Recently, the Law Society of Kenya said it wanted the High Court in Britain to give more time to potential claimants seeking Mau Mau compensation to come on board.

Chairman Eric Mutua said LSK had appointed Mr Fraser Whitehead of Slater and Gordon Lawyers of the UK to file a case in court to push for the inclusion of more claimants in the Mau Mau case.

The claimants had until April to be screened and file their suits.

Speaking after a meeting with Mr Whitehead and lawyer P.K. Kamau who is coordinating the Mau Mau matter on behalf of LSK in Kenya, Mr Mutua said his organisation would apply to be enjoined in the case in the UK on Thursday.

“We want to protect the interests of the public so that potential claimants are not locked out of the case,” he said.

More than 13,000 claimants have so far sought compensation from the British Government over mistreatment during the struggle for independence.

Mr Kamau said another 4,000 had written to his PK Kamau and Company Advocates seeking payment.

Mr Whitehead’s firm specialises in group litigation and has handled many major cases including that of a ship that sunk in Greece and one on bad cosmetic surgery.

Mr Whitehead is one of UK’s leading lawyers dealing with group litigation.

Mau Mau veterans excluded from the Sh2.6 billion payout from the British Government for atrocities committed during the colonial period started to register for fresh claims last year.

The registration, which was ordered by the British court, is being led by a British firm and targets 8,000 veterans. The Sh2.6 billion compensation only benefited 5,228 people.

-Nation

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