Court Directs Former Kitui CO Compensated After Unfair Dismissal

By The Weekly Vision

A former chief officer in Kitui County has won a case she had filed against Governor Julius Malombe over the unfair termination of a contract. She was employed by the governor and then sacked during his first term in office in 2015. In a ruling dated 25th May 2023, Judge Hon. Justice Byram Ongaya termed Emma Kamene’s termination as unlawful and unfair and ordered the county executive to pay her Ksh. 3,351,096 in compensation. 

She was employed as Chief Officer of Youth Sports and Social Services on a 5-year contract of service ending on 31st December 2018. Her monthly salary was Ksh. 126,172, house allowance Ksh. 60,000 per month and other monthly allowances in the sum of Ksh. 20,000. During the hearing, she pleaded that she served with due diligence but received an interdiction letter dated 10th December 2015 conveying that the Governor had directed her interdiction for incompetence and inability to satisfactorily complete tasks to the required quality including agreed timelines; disrespect, insubordination, and lack of consultation; willful disregard of rules and regulations in the performance of official duties; collusion with suppliers and contractors to inflate costs leading to compromise in service delivery; engaging in rent-seeking and corrupt practices in collusion with suppliers and contractors; and poor departmental leadership and unsatisfactory performance of assigned duties and responsibilities. The letter stated that the interdiction was pending investigations. 

Kitui Governor Julius Malombe. Photo/Courtesy

It is her case that subsequently, the respondent purported to investigate a committee appointed by the Governor but which committee never invited the claimant to make a representation. By the letter dated 19th May 2016, the governor terminated her employment upon the same matters enumerated in the interdiction letter. She claimed that the interdiction letter of 10th December 2015 and the subsequent termination letter of 19th May 2016 were malicious and driven by nefarious intentions on the part of the governor.

She claimed that the letters were illegal and unconstitutional as well malicious, the particulars of which were pleaded as failing to give her any adequate notice of the intended termination, failing to give her a fair hearing at all, humiliating her by making false accusations against her without a reasonable basis or justification to do so and terminating her services without any reasonable basis or justification for so doing.

She further claimed that in the circumstances she suffered great damage to her professional career and standing, loss and damage. The Court further finds that the Governor appointed the Committee with total disregard for the functions and powers of the County Public Service Board under the County Governments Act, 2012. Given those findings, the Court returns that the procedure the respondent initiated towards the termination of the claimant’s contract of service was unfair.

The ruling reads “In conclusion judgment is hereby entered for the claimant against the respondent for the declaration that the claimant’s termination was unlawful and unfair and that the respondent to pay the claimant the sum of Ksh. 3,351,096”. 

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