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University of Eldoret salary account frozen in pay row

By Julius Chepkwony | May 23rd 2020

The court has ordered the National Bank of Kenya (NBK) to freeze University of Eldoret's salary account.

Justice Monica Mbaru, in an order dated May 19, 2020 directed NBK's Eldoret Branch to hold more than Sh268 million held in the account after Ezekiel Kiprop and Hosea Sitienei moved to court.

Prof Kiprop and Mr Sitinei were suspended in July 2015 following unrest at the university. They moved to court to challenge their dismissal.

Before his suspension, Sitienei served as finance officer while Kiprop was deputy vice chancellor, Finance and Administration.

They lost the case but proceeded to the Court of Appeal.

On October 18, 2018, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the two and found that the termination of their employment by the university was null and void.

The Court of Appeal then ordered the matter to be remitted back to the Employment and Labour Relations Court for assessment of appropriate remedies attendant to them.

On July 9, 2019, the Employment and Labour Relations Court ordered the university to pay the two Sh38 million in accrued salaries based on their last pay amounts and taking into account the applicable contracts and collective bargain agreements and notices due in retirement, among other awards.

The court further ordered that the dues be paid within 30 days of the judgement. 

But to date, the university has not paid up, leading to Tuesday's orders.

“Pending service and hearing of the Notice of Motion dated May 15, 2020, Garnishee Order Nisi hereby issues against National Bank of Kenya, Eldoret Branch Account with directions that all monies held in deposit by the Garnishee to the credit of University of Eldoret be attached to answer the decree for the sum of Sh38,903,116.60 being the amount in respect of which judgement was entered in favour of the petitioners herein,” read the order seen by The Saturday Standard

The court further ordered the university to attend court on June 2 to show cause why it should not pay the two university staff and their advocates.

Kiprop and Sitienei had named the university vice-chancellor and Education Cabinet secretary as respondents.

They claimed the university has blatantly and out of ill will declined to settle the amounts awarded to them by the court without any justifiable reason. 

In the application, the court heard that in the course of the two pursuing the amounts due to them, they learnt that the university holds an account with the National Bank of Kenya, Eldoret Branch with some Sh268.8 million in it.

Sitienei was to be paid Sh14,729,122 and costs of the suit while Kiprop was to get Sh24,173,994.

The two moved to court after the university failed to pay up even after losing appeals.

“The applications preferred by the respondents (University of Eldoret) before the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court have all been dismissed and the respondents have remained adamant to satisfy the decretal sums. There is no order at all barring the execution against the respondents,” stated the two varsity staff in their application.

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