NAIROBI: Over 400 former Telkom Kenya employees have accused three city-based lawyers of withholding Sh1.3 billion awarded to them.
The former employees, who have been in court since 2006, want the bank accounts of lawyers Antony Oluoch, Thomas Lentangule and Silvia Malemba Gitonga and auctioneer Muganda Wasilwa to be frozen pending the hearing of the case.
They say the four have refused to remit the monies despite a consent entered on December 15, 2015.
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The former employees said advocates who represented them have messed up the process of disbursing the money and that the process had been characterised by discrepancies and non-disclosure of the true facts of the settlement amount.
They told Justice Monica Mbaru, who certified the matter urgent, that they were afraid that the lawyers would move the money to other accounts if the court does not intervene.
"It is only prudent that the court summons the respondents to give a full and transparent breakdown and account of how much money they agreed to pay them and the mode used in dispatching the money," said lawyer Vayonda Sirma, who is representing the former Telkom Kenya employees.
They now want Telkom Kenya to be summoned to court to give an account of the amount released to the lawyers through an escrow account at National Bank, Upper Hill branch.
The former employees further say they have been sidelined and are not aware how the money was awarded and paid out by the lawyers.
"The applicants have been sidelined and maligned from the consent entered by all parties and they are unable to establish how the money awarded and paid by the Telkom Kenya is to be disbursed to them," they say.
They say others who were not represented by lawyers have already received their dues.
The former employees were retrenched in June 2006 following restructuring and re-organisation of the company.
Consequently, their trade union, the Communication Workers Union, negotiated with Telkom Kenya on behalf of the former employees and reached an agreement on how to compensate them.
Dissatisfied with the package offered, the laid-off workers filed a suit against Telkom Kenya. The then Industrial Court ruled in their favour and ordered the company to pay Sh150,000 as golden handshake and two-and-a-half month basic salary for each completed year of service.
Telkom appealed against the decision but lost. It is at this juncture that the parties agreed on an out-of-court settlement whereby the ex-workers were to receive Sh1.3 billion.