Former Family Bank CCO seeks Sh717m for job loss and false report

Former Family Bank Chief Commercial Officer Kenneth Kaniu. [File, Standard]

Former Family Bank Chief Commercial Officer Kenneth Kaniu has asked the High Court to award him Sh717 million, claiming the lender ruined his career after allegedly authoring a damning report before kicking him out.

In his case before Justice Lawrence Mugambi, Kaniu narrates that he was hired by the lender on December 24, 2021, following a rigorous exercise that involved a background check by Deloitte and Touche.

Further, the appointment was subject to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) clearing him after another vetting and background check.

According to his court papers filed by Echesa Bwire Advocates, CBK gave him a clean bill of health. Before Family Bank, Kaniu worked with Britam Asset Managers (BAM), a subsidiary of the Britam Insurance for six years as CEO.

He states that BAM was paying him Sh2.6 gross monthly salary. After joining the lender, Kaniu says on May 24, 2022, he received a termination letter.

The lender based its decision on an alleged background check report allegedly from CBK and Capital Markets Authority (CMA). Kaniu argues that Family Bank lied as there was no such report.

To demonstrate his battle with the lender, Kaniu takes the court to the pulpit. He refers to himself as a meek person, just like David of the Bible.

"I am a meek law-abiding citizen, who has no matching might to fight against the respondent (Family) a Goliath. Further, the impunity of the respondent is demonstrable; going to all heights including publishing a false report that the interested party issued a negative report when none was issued," states Kaniu.

The former CCO argues that Family ruined his livelihood and condemned him to unemployment. He claims the lender's letter was circulated to the entire banking industry and the CMA.

Kaniu narrates that he was once a golden boy of the banking industry, having worked in seven top-tier institutions, including the Commercial Bank of Africa (current NCBA). He says he has a commendable professional acumen and standing, such that he has been sitting on boards of at least 12 institutions.

"The publication that the interested party had issued a negative report on fit and proper status concerning me was false and was at all times material known to the respondent (Family) to be false. I have suffered and continue to suffer odium and ostracisation from professional peers, a tag, and scar that I bear as a consequence of the deliberate and malicious publication of falsehood by the respondent," Kaniu adds.

He claims he has written to the bank, asking management to correct and recant its letter but his request has fallen on deaf ears. He states says at Britam, he was a permanent employee and hoped to work until 65 years old. He wants the court to award him 23 years' worth of Britam salary as compensation.

"This is the monetary loss, to career and livelihood that the petitioner has suffered, and which is an appropriate remedy in the circumstances," argues Kaniu. The case will be mentioned on November 11.

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