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Pastor Ng’ang’a to pay former worker Sh300,000 for unfair dismissal

WORK LIFE
By Kamau Muthoni | February 5th 2021

Pastor James Ng’ang’a in the dock at a Limuru court where he was acquitted of charges of causing death by dangerous driving. [File, Standard]

The Labour Court in Nairobi has awarded a former Neno Evangelism Church employee Sh300,000 as compensation for unfair dismissal.

Christopher Kinama, a church caretaker, was fired by Pastor James Ng’ang’a in 2017 over an alleged car park fees collection dispute.

Justice Maureen Onyango dismissed Ng’ang’a’s explanation as to why Kinama was fired, noting that it was contradictory. The judge also ruled that the church’s management did not give him an opportunity to argue his side of the story before firing him.

Kinama sued Neno, which responded through the pastor. Justice Onyango said while the church had claimed it had called and written a letter to Kinama, giving him a second chance, the date indicated was November 18, 2016, while the employee was fired on January 25, 2017.

According to the judge, it was humanly impossible for Ng'ang’a to foresee that he would fire Kinama thus writing a letter, and wait for the date of his reckoning.

“With utmost respect to Apostle James Ng'ang'a, the author of the said letter, I am not convinced that it was humanly possible for him to predict that such events would take place and write the letter in advance. I have carefully perused the said letter. It is dated November 18, 2016. As indicated in the pleadings, the events that led to the claimant’s termination occurred on January 25, 2017,” she observed.

Kinama was employed by Neno in 2007 as a caretaker, earning Sh8,000 gross pay. At the time he was fired he was earning Sh15,000.

He narrated that on January 24, 2017, Ng’ang’a called him, instructing him to take charge of the church’s canteen and would also be in charge of collecting money.

The court heard that at the time, Neno had employed a new car attendant and friction ensued between the two on who ought to collect parking fees.

Kinama said Ng’ang’a called again on January 25 at 9pm demanding to know why he had not heeded the instructions.

His answer was that the church's cashier had also waded into the matter, asserting that she was in charge. He informed Ng’ang’a that they had sought the church manager's intervention, but the matter was still not resolved. 

Kinama told the court that an angry Ng’ang’a dismissed his explanation and fired him. To support his claim, he attached texts allegedly sent by the pastor.

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