Nyamira CEC was sacked for 'embarrassing' the Governor, lawyer says

Dr Timothy Ombati when he took the oath of office as Health CEC. [Governor’s Press]

Nyamira County Executive Member for Health Dr Timothy Ombati was sacked for allegedly embarrassing Governor Amos Nyaribo, a lawyer says.

Ombati was suspended weeks ago, over claims of theft of drugs and misappropriation of funds.

According to Lawyer Danstan Omari, the Governor’s action was glaringly unreasonable and devoid of any compelling justification, therefore, he argues it should not be allowed to stand.

He also termed his dismissal as ‘unreasonable, whimsical and capricious’.

Ombati has told the court that according to the termination letter, the main reason behind his dismissal is embarrassing the Governor by delaying the delivery of drugs worth Sh22 million to sub-county hospitals.

Through his lawyer’s petition, Dr. Ombati has argued that such a reason is not contemplated in the County Government Act as wanting the summary dismissal from the service of a County Executive Officer.

Omari filed a petition at the Kisumu Labour Relations Court on September 11, 2023, challenging the ouster of Ombati from the county job.

In the petition, Omari wants the court to order his immediate reinstatement and compensation for unlawful dismissal.

If the governor fails to reinstate Ombati, he has asked the court to pay his client all the dues for the remainder of the term.

The embattled Executive for Health, Dr Timothy Ombati, received his termination letter dated September 6, 2023, a month after he had responded to a show cause letter explaining the circumstances and intricacies that gave rise to the situation that is alleged to have portrayed the Governor in a bad picture before the public.

In his affidavit, Dr Ombati says; “It is double tragedy for the respondent's illegal action to subsist while my rights are trampled upon.”

The drugs were delivered on July 11, 2023, and were received by Governor Nyaribo from a Central place. The County boss’s demand was that the drugs immediately be dispatched to Sub Counties.

However, the supplier had not delivered the entire consignment at the time. The full consignment was later supplied in full on July 16 and 17 with the company offering an apology over the delay.

The Company that had been contracted to supply the drugs; Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS), through the company Head of Commercial Services, had in July 21, 2023, written to the County Government explaining what had occasioned the delay in delivery of the consignment.

In the letter, the company said; “We wish to apologise for the interrupted supply of the drugs to two sub-counties; Nyamira North and Masaba North as a result of political unrest referred to as ‘Maandamano’. Our contracted transport providers feared for the security of the drugs hence there was no inbound and outbound to our Kisumu MEDS branch.”

Kisumu Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Christine Baari has since certified the matter as urgent and ordered the County boss to file his replying affidavit within seven days. A hearing of the matter has been set for September 19, 2023.

Dr Ombati had been in charge of the docket for a year before he was shown the door. Nyaribo suspended the official a month ago.