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Mystery of KeRRA's official's similar case filed in different courts

NEWS
By Julius Chepkwony | March 22nd 2021

Questions have emerged on how Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) Procurement Manager Margaret Wanja Muthui obtained a court order reinstating her to the position despite being deployed to State Department of Infrastructure.

Wanja filed two cases in an attempt to secure an order stopping her deployment.

The Standard has established that the two petitions were filed eight days apart at the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi.

They were, however, heard by different judges, who also issued varying orders.

The first petition, No EO19 of 2021, was filed on February 15, 2021 and placed before Justice James Rika on February 16. In this one, she complained about a letter issued to her dated February 10, 2021.

The letter, she said, required her to report to the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development and Public Works for the assignment of duties.

Court proceedings dated February 16, 2021, indicate that Justice Rika declined to reverse the letter on an ex-parte application.

Certificate of urgency

The judge ordered Wanja to serve KeRRA and the Ministry of Transport. The hearing date of the case was to be issued in the registry. The suit was set for hearing on February 26.

Three days to the hearing of the first petition, Wanja filed a similar case, petition No EO 27 of 2021 at the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi.

The case filed on February 23, 2021 was placed before Justice Maureen Onyango. The petition was filed under a certificate of urgency and was heard on February 24, 2021.

Justice Onyango suspended the letter deploying Wanja to the ministry and reinstated her to the position of Procurement Manager, KeRRA.

On obtaining the orders on Petition EO 27 of 2021, Petition No EO19 of 2021 was withdrawn on February 26.

“In the meantime, the letter dated February 10, 2021, issued from the second respondent (KeRRA) deploying the petitioner (Wanja) to the 1st respondent (Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development and Public Works) be and is hereby suspended pending inter-partes hearing of this application (Petition EO 27 of 2021),” read part of the order issued by Justice Onyango on February 24.

Further Order Number 3 read: ”The position subsisting before issuance of the letter dated February 10, 2021 is reinstated pending inter-partes hearing of the application.”

The case was to be heard on March 15, 2021. Justice Onyango could, however, not handle the case at hearing stage as she had proceeded on leave. The matter was placed before Justice Nduma Nderi on March 17.

Justice Nderi ordered the Ministry of Transport, KeRRA and the Attorney General to file submissions within 14 days and extended the interim orders reinstating Wanja to the position of Procurement Manager at KeRRA.

Wanja in the petitions wanted the court to order the status quo prevailing before she was issued with the letter be maintained so that she may continue serving as KeRRA Procurement Manager.

She said the letter removing her from the procurement manager’s position at KeRRA and deploying her to the Ministry of Transport was in blatant breach of an earlier judgement delivered on February 19, 2019.  

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