Dockers union officials clash over Sh22m taken from bank

Members of Dockworkers Union cast their votes for their favorite candidates as the Dockworkers Union elections got underway within and outside the port of Mombasa, April 12, 2016. [Photo by Gideon Maundu/Standard]
A fresh dispute has erupted at the giant Dock Workers Union (DWU).

This follows claims that more than Sh22.5 million was withdrawn irregularly between August last year and January this year.

The union has been facing leadership wrangles, pitting its national chairman Mohamed Sheria against Secretary General Simon Sang.

The wrangles have since gone to court with Mr Sheria and his allies fighting to keep their positions after being suspended by Mr Sang.

Court orders

In August last year, the faction allied to Sheria was granted court orders placing a caveat on the union's accounts until a pending case was heard and determined. The order limited transactions in the union's account to payment of workers.

Some officials led by Sheria claimed that Sh22, 531,175.80 was withdrawn from the union's account between August 2017 and January this year despite the court order.

They averred that Sh3, 752,903.70 was withdrawn in August last year and another Sh2, 624,487.50 in September.

The group further claimed that Sh4,820,753.95 was withdrawn in October,  Sh5,295,807.35 in November, Sh3,063,003.30 in December last year and Sh2,974,220 in January this year.

The officials have written to the union's banker demanding an explanation on the withdrawals.

“We demand an explanation on how the huge sum of money was withdrawn, by who and on whose authority it was done,” states the letter signed by lawyer John Magiya for Sheria’s faction.

Legal action

The letter is copied to Sang and the Employment and Labour Relations Court. The officials threatened to take legal action within seven days unless the withdrawn money was returned.

However, Sang dismissed the officials' demands, accusing them of raising a false alarm.

“It is not possible to irregularly withdraw money from the union's account. No cent has been lost,” Sang said.

He termed the officials' demands an attempt to frustrate the running of the union.

“This new claim is a witch-hunt and a conspiracy to frustrate our operations,” Sang protested.

He maintained that the union was supposed to spend 100 per cent of its funds to facilitate programmes that support members.

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