Driver fired for reporting bhang-smoking students to police sues Sacco for Sh1.9m

NAIROBI |

John Muthoni speaks to the press at his Ihwagi home in Karatina town, Nyeri County. November 21, 2021. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

A matutu driver allegedly sacked by a Nyeri-based Sacco for reporting misbehaving students to the police has sued his former employer seeking Sh1.9 million for wrongful dismissal.

The students, John Muthoni had been assigned to ferry from Karatina to Ruai in November last year, were allegedly smoking bhang and drinking alcohol in his matatu.

In another case he filed at the chief magistrate's court, Muthoni also wants 2NK Sacco ordered to pay him damages for alleged defamation.

In the case he filed at the Employment and Labour Relations Court, Muthoni accuses the management of the Sacco that has over 800 public service vehicles of firing him without due process.

The applicant, who has since been hired as a driver by the county government of Nyeri, claims in his application that he was employed by 2NK to ferry passengers from Nyeri to Nairobi, earning Sh4,000 monthly.

Muthoni is demanding Sh276,000 for unlawful termination, Sh90,000 for unpaid leave, Sh265,000 for unpaid rest days, Sh1 million for underpayment, and Sh190,000 for house allowance  

John Muthoni with Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga. The ex-2NK driver was hired by Kahiga's county government. [Courtesy]

"Having served the Sacco for five years, I expected to be accorded due process as provided for in the law," Muthoni said.

Having been employed by the respondents, he said, I was qualified for remuneration, under the provision of regulation of wages (general), earning Sh1,056 per day and a house allowance of Sh23,000.

His termination, he stated, was without any prior notice, reason or justification.

“It was unlawful, unfair, and inhuman having not been served with a notice or warning letter. I was not issued with a certificate of service either upon termination,” Muthoni said.

He noted that for the period he worked for 2NK, he had no single case of gross misconduct.

“On November 17, 2021, I was assigned a 14 seater matatu with instruction to ferry fare paying students from Karatina to Ruai,” Muthoni said in his court papers.

He added: "Upon reaching Kibingoti along the Nyeri-Karatina road, I realized the students were engaged in a frenzy of smoking bhang and drinking alcohol."

"As a law-abiding citizen, I stopped the car and warned the students against the vice. However, they told me off and threatened me claiming some of their parents were senior police officers.”

John Muthoni. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

He said he drove the car to Sagana Police Station but the students jumped out through the windows and escaped.

In the defamation suit, Muthoni wants compulsory, aggravated, exemplary damages from the Sacco.

He is also seeking an order directing the defendants to take down offensive posts published on Facebook and in the media by the Sacco and its chairman James Kahiro.

“The first defendants, while speaking on behalf of the second, reiterated most of what was published on the Sacco's Facebook page,” Muthoni said.

On November 20, the driver noted the defendants invited members of the media with nationwide coverage where the alleged defamatory statement was made.

He claims the statement posted on Facebook publication in the audio-visual recording by Kahiro was defamatory. 

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