Lawyer Patrick Lutta for former employees who were irregularly dismissed in 2011 at Milimani Law Courts after court awarded his clients Sh 22 million.
BY SAM ALFAN.
Former senior employees of the struggling Kenya Meat Commission were on Tuesday awarded Sh20.3 million for wrongful dismissal.
Former Internal Auditor Peter Mwangangi, Livestock manager Patrick Ekodere and Accountant Benjamin Kituku were awarded Sh9, 897,096, Sh5, 589,381, Sh4, 906,488 respectively.
Employment and Labour Relations Court, Nairobi, said the dismissal by KMC was unfair as labour laws were not followed.
The judge upheld the submission of the claimant’s lawyer Patrick Lutta to the effect that the termination of their employment was substantially and procedurally unfair to due failure by the board of the commission to prove that the same was for a valid reason affected in terms of a fair procedure.
“The admitted omission by the board denied it opportunity to establish a valid reason existed for the termination of the employment of three claimants” the judge said.
Justice Nduma said that the board has demonstrated by Mr Lutta for the claimants did not try at all to grant the three the opportunity to be heard and was unrepentant in that regard by saying that internal procedures permitted the deviation.
“The respondent blatantly admitted that it did not have to observe provisions of the employment act and that it did not therefore issue the claimants with a notice to show cause nor give them a hearing,” the judge said in the judgment delivered by judge Hellen Wasilwa.
He said KMC was unrepentant in giving the three an opportunity to be heard blaming it on the internal procedures of the corporation.
“I have variously stated this position in numerous cases and employers are advised to follow guidance by courts rather than regret later as often happens,” Nderi said.
He said it is good that employers invest in acquainting themselves in regard with the employment act than err and regret later.
In the suit, Mwangangi said he was employed on September 30, 2008 as an accountant for a period of three years.
He said on October 1 the same year, he was promoted to the position of a Chief Accountant due to dedication to work.
He said on July 12, 2011, his employment was terminated by the board on grounds that he failed to manage, control and account for most of KMC finances.
“Audited accounts for financial year 2010 were found clean thereby vindicating my good performance as the chief accountant,” Mwangangi said.
Ekodere was dismissed on July 12 on grounds of under performance, ineptitude and incompetence.
But in his defence, he said the accusations were unfounded as his contract had been renewed based on his good performance and therefore the termination was malicious.
“The alleged grounds were unfounded as I was not given an opportunity to defend myself,” Ekodere said.
Kituku in his defence said he was accused by the board of under performance, inability to manage and failure to provide the board with data relating to the operations of KMC while there was no documented evidence.