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Two seek to have airport boss removed from office

COAST
By Kamau Muthoni | February 9th 2016

Two workers want the court to order an airport boss sacked for interfering with their work.

The employees, who work for a contractor who collects parking fees at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa, have moved to the High Court over an incident that involved Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala’s driver two years ago at the airport.

Jared Adimo and Grace Nasongo also want the court to declare the Moi International Airport’s General Manager Yatich Kangugo, who is also acting as Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) managing director, unfit to hold any Government office over breach of law.

Adimo and Nasongo, employed by Mason Services Limited, were on March 8, 2014 on their normal duty, manning the tollgate at the airport when Mr Balala’s driver ordered that the barrier be opened. He is said to have picked his temporary card and 30 minutes after his exit, Mr Kangugo arrived with security officers, removed the barriers and ordered that the motorists who were leaving were not to pay parking fees. “I was with my co-petitioner and we were shocked and surprised when the second respondent (Kangugo) walked straight to the barriers and physically pushed them from the clips and left them open,” said Mr Adimo in his affidavit filed by lawyer Stephen Oyugi.

They were then ordered to walk away from the toll by Kangugo and replacements were quickly sought. Kangugo is not their employer. Four days later, they were arrested and arraigned before the Magistrates’ Court, where they were charged with refusing to follow lawful instructions by an airport operator.

The two however, challenged their prosecution before the High Court in Mombasa and were set free on grounds that they had been maliciously charged and that they were victims of a tug-of-war between their employer and the KAA boss.

“I and my co-petitioner suffered untold humiliation and mental anguish as a consequence of the arrest and arraignment in court for the purported offence, which was meant to settle a grudge harboured between the second respondent and my employer.”

“The respondent ought to have taken action against our employer and not us. I and my co-petitioner were denied an opportunity to discharge our duties freely,” the court heard in the application in which KAA is the first respondent.

Mr Oyugi said they placed a complaint beforethe KAA board last year with the hope that there would be an inquiry, but nothing has been done. “The petitioners pray that the court orders KAA to remove or sack Kangugo,” he said.

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