The Industrial Court has ordered the Chief of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to reinstate serviceman who was sacked for failing to notify authorities of special mission allowances he erroneously received.
Sitting in Nakuru, Justice Byram Ongaya ordered General Julius Karangi to reinstate Sergeant David Wanyonyi into service from November 1.
Wanyonyi is among several officers who erroneously received African Union Mission to Somalia allowances for troops deployed to Somalia, which they were not entitled to.
The court also gave an alternative to Karangi to retire the officer with effect from the date of dismissal, with full pension benefits payable by December 1, 2014.
The senior officer had erroneously received a total of Sh348,000 from October 2012 to January 2013 and failed to notify his bosses. After a probe, Wanyonyi was charged and found guilty of conduct to prejudice of good order and discipline contrary to Section 121 of the KDF Act.
He was then dismissed from service on May 17, 2014 but filed a memorandum of claim at the Industrial Court in June. Through lawyer Aggrey Simiyu, Wanyonyi sought reinstatement and damages for wrongful dismissal, arguing he had thought the money meant his time for deployment had arrived.
“Returning or reporting about the money would amount to an act of cowardice inconsistent with a courageous officer ready to go to the battle zone and serve his country as a strong fearless soldier,” Simiyu said.
The court heard from Wanyonyi’s witness, Major Joseph Kosen, that other staff that had notified the top command of the error were still in service and the money was being recovered from them on monthly basis. The court ruled it was discriminatory for Wanyonyi to be dismissed without benefits while officers in similar circumstances were retained.