Eastleigh Mattresses Supermarket in court to stop audit

A supermarket has gone to court to stop the criminal prosecution of its directors for failing to produce employment records for inspection.

Eastleigh Mattresses wants the decision by the Labour ministry calling for an audit quashed.

The inspection was ordered after the Kenya Human Rights Commission and an undisclosed union acting on behalf of some workers raised some concerns.

Through lawyer Colbert Ojiambo, the supermarket wants the court to stop the Commissioner of Labour from proceeding with the inspection of their employment records.

"The Commissioner for Labour has no powers to inspect the Eastleigh Mattresses employment records and therefore such an action contravenes the powers of the commissioner," Mr Ojiambo said.

He said it is the responsibility of labour officers to inspect the employment records, adding that they have already been audited by a labour officer from Nairobi County.

The lawyer asked the court to certify the matter as urgent so that it is heard during the court's vacation because the supermarket directors risk being charged with a criminal offence.

"The Commissioner of Labour has issued a notice of intention to prefer criminal charges against the supermarket directors for failing to comply with his illegal directives," he said.

The actions of the commissioner, he added, are unlawful, harsh and unjustified and the court should step in to stop the move. Ojiambo emphasised that the supermarket has over the years complied with the inspection conducted by officers from the Labour ministry.

"The last inspection conducted by the County Labour Officer covered the period from 2012 to 2014 and the report from the inspection confirmed the supermarkets had duly complied with the necessary labour requirements," he said.