Court reinstates official who bought 279m Sh homes in days

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Court reinstates official who bought 279m Sh homes in days


summary

  • The judge found that the suspension came while a case filed by Ms. Muthui contesting her transfer by the agency was pending in the Labor Court.
  • The judge said KeRRA should have waited to rule on the motion challenging her transfer.

A civil servant accused of buying 279 million shillings of homes in four months in 2019 has been granted a pardon after a judge overturned her suspension, saying her former employer did not have the authority to do so after she was posted to another ministry was.

Judge Matthews Nduma ruled that the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA)’s suspension of Margaret Wanja Muthui over claims of benefiting from illegal funds was wrong because the agency had already transferred her to the Ministry of Infrastructure.

The judge found that the suspension came while a case filed by Ms. Muthui contesting her transfer by the agency was pending in the Labor Court.

“The court will determine at the outset that KeRRA can no longer have and eat his cake. In petition E027 of 2021, KeRRA successfully asserted that it had legitimately employed the petitioner at the parent Ministry of Transport.

Having done so and having brought the matter to court pending a decision, KeRRA cannot at the same time pretend to be exercising its powers as the petitioner’s employer,” the judge said.

The judge said KeRRA should have waited to rule on the motion challenging her transfer.

The agency’s deputy director was suspended after allegations she benefited from bribes from road construction company tenders and bought more than 35 homes in 2019, when the Central Bank of Kenya announced the withdrawal of old banknotes.

KeRRA had defended the suspension, saying it was fair to argue that it was only fair and just since she would hold public office and be investigated until the case was resolved.

The agency said it could not keep her in the office while facing serious allegations related to corruption and white-collar crime.

Before the suspension, Ms. Muthui had twice fought offers of her transfer. The first case was when she was moved to performance management and coordination under the presidency in 2017.

She won the case when the court ruled that the transfer was wrong and a few months back in her office she was again instructed to report to the chief secretary at the ministry where she was to oversee procurement.

Ms. Muthui went to court again only to be suspended by KeRRA on the corruption case.

Judge Nduma said in the decision that to the extent that KeRRA seconded her to the ministry as of February 10, 2021, the agency was no longer her employer and therefore the suspension letter was null and void.

ARA says Ms Muthui bought the apartments herself or through proxies and a company whose directors were mostly her relatives or proxies during the demonetization period.

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