Ketraco boss wants court to revoke his ouster from office

 

Ketraco General Manager Anthony Wamukota when he appeared before the Public Investments Committee at Parliament, Nairobi on Thursday, February 17, 2022. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Kenya Transmission Electricity Company (Ketraco) General Manager Anthony Wamukota on Tuesday asked the court to lift his suspension from office that was initiated by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.

Mr Wamukota told the Employment and Labour Relations Court that the Ketraco board neither called him nor asked him to respond to any allegations before taking the drastic action.

His lawyer, Moses Sikuta, told Justice Byrum Ongaya that during the board's special meeting last week, no allegations were raised against Wamukota.

Instead, Mr Sikuta accused the EACC of sneaking a letter demanding that Ketraco immediately suspends Wamukota for 12 months to pave the way for investigations into the Loiyangalani-Suswa transmission interconnection (II) line project. There was no complaint or allegation against Wamukota, said the lawyer.

“The first respondent never acted on any complaint or allegation, per se, and the third respondent usurped the powers of the first respondent powers at its board’s meeting of November 15, 2023. Consequently, the suspension is illegal,” he said.

Sikuta argued that the board’s action was illegal and in contravention of High Court orders barring the EACC from arresting or charging Wamukota over the project.

“The third respondent (EACC) is purely on a fishing expedition having been stopped by the High Court from harassing, charging and or arresting the applicant herein relating to the above project in what they had employed unfair, unprocedural and unconstitutional tactics that flout the rules of natural justice to threaten, arrest and detain the applicant without a justifiable cause, and the applicant had to seek refuge in court to protect his constitutional rights,” he said.

The lawyer accused the EACC of circumventing the orders by recommending that his client be shown the door.

Furthermore, Sikuta argued that the board failed to follow the company’s human resource manual before taking action. The lawyer said that Ketraco’s manual provides that all employees, including Wamukota, can only be suspended for a period less than six months.

He said that the manual also requires that one should be first heard before any adverse disciplinary action is taken. In April, Wamukota filed a case before Justice Lawrence Mugambi claiming that the EACC was harassing him to ensure he was not appointed Ketraco CEO.

Meanwhile, Ketraco lawyer Patrick Lutta said that he would raise an objection that the Labour Court has no powers to hear the case.

Justice Ongaya will hear the case on Thursday.

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