Varsity's Sh38m debt case headed to Supreme Court

Lawyers Kipkoech Ng'etich (centre) with Prof Ezekiel Kiprop (right) and Hosea Sitienei. [Harun Wathari, Standard]

A five-judge bench has been constituted to hear and determine an application by the University of Eldoret seeking to stop an auctioneer from selling off 20 of its high-end vehicles.

Chief Justice David Maraga, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu and justices Mohammed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala and Isaac Lenaola will hear the case.

The bench that was set up last Wednesday is yet to set a hearing date.

The vehicles were proclaimed by auctioneers in November after the university failed to pay Sh38 million to two former senior administrative officers for unfair dismissal.

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Ezekiel Kiprop (Finance Officer) and Hosea Sitienei (Deputy Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration) were awarded the money in a July 9 ruling by the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) in Nakuru.

Prof Kiprop and Mr Sitienei were suspended in July 2015 following unrest at the university. They moved to court and successfully challenge the disciplinary action. Sitienei was awarded Sh14.7 million while Kiprop was awarded Sh24.1 million.

The judgement was to be implemented within 30 days from date of delivery but after the university failed to comply, the two men filed contempt proceedings against the institution's management.

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Through lawyer Kipkoech Ng’etich, the complainants got Kolato Auctioneers to attach the vehicles, which were left in the custody of the university for seven days after which they were to be moved and sold to the public.

The institution then moved to the Supreme Court and sought orders barring the sale of the vehicles.

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Varsity lawyer Erick Gumbo wrote to the ELRC deputy registrar and urged the court not to issue warrants of attachment and sale of the vehicles. But after the deputy registrar complied, ELRC judge Monica Mbaru overturned the decision, forcing the university to head back to the Supreme Court for conservatory orders.

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Chief Justice David MaragaPhilomena Mwilu