Prof Walingo wins Sh81m pay battle with university

The main entrance to Maasai Mara University. [File, Standard]

The Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nakuru has ordered Maasai Mara University to pay Vice Chancellor Mary Walingo Sh81 million for wrongful dismissal.

Yesterday, Justice Hellen Wasilwa ruled that the university owed Prof Walingo Sh81,019,348 in outstanding salaries and allowances since her dismissal in May 2020.

“It is my finding that the university is duly bound to implement the decision of the Public Service Commission (PSC), as adopted by this court,” ruled Justice Wasilwa.

The judge faulted the university for failing to provide the court with its computation of the amount owed to the university boss, despite opposing Walingo’s computation.

The court further ruled that despite several orders, the latest one being on July 11, 2023, directing parties to file their computation, the university still declined to do so.

According to the judge, the university gave lame excuses, stating they were waiting for a new council to be reconstituted. She noted that a new council was constituted on May 22, 2023, but the university still declined to file its own computation of what was owed to the VC.

"In the absence of a rejoinder from the respondent, the court adopts the applicant’s (Walingo) computed figure of Sh81 million as the amount she is owed,” the judge ruled, adding that the amount is payable less statutory deductions.

Walingo was interdicted on May 12, 2020, and suspended on August 28, 2020, after she was charged with alleged theft of Sh177 million in the Maasai Mara University heist scandal.

She was later dismissed by the university council on January 31, 2022.

Aggrieved, she moved to the PSC to complain. She claimed the university stopped paying her after her interdiction.

Walingo claimed that she was owed Sh81 million in unpaid salaries, allowances, interests, and allowances accrued between May 2020 and December 2022.

The PSC reinstated Walingo on September 6, 2022, but directed that she remains suspended and on half salary until her theft case is concluded.

The commission ordered the university to pay Walingo half salary and attendant allowances from January 31, 2020, the date of her suspension.

However, Walingo moved to court and claimed the university had declined to reinstate her and had shown no interest in paying her what she was due.

“I continue to suffer intimidation, harassment discrimination and victimisation as the university refuses to pay me what I am owed,” she submitted.

On January 17, 2023, Justice Wasilwa adopted the PSC decision as a judgment of the court and directed the university to implement the orders.

But court records show the university delayed Walingo’s reinstatement until the court forced its hands on February 20, 2023.