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Embu Governor Martin Wambora to pay Sh5m for sacking top official

 Embu Governor Martin Wambora

A Nyeri court has ordered Governor Martin Wambora to pay Sh5 million to a senior county official for wrongful dismissal.

Labour and Employment judge Justice Byram Ongaya further directed the immediate reinstatement of Mundia Njeru Gateria as chairman of the county public service board (CPSB).

Justice Ongaya also ordered the county administration to pay an additional Sh2 million to Mr Gateria by December 1.

The judge ruled that the award will attract interest at court rates from the date of the judgement.

The sum of Sh5 million will have to be paid to Gateria by January 1, next year, after the court found Wambora violated the constitutional rights of the petitioner.

"For avoidance of doubt, he should resume his duties as the chairman without intimidation by the respondents and without a break in service as appointed," Ongaya further ruled.

The chairman is also set to enjoy his full pay and benefits and serve as the chairman of the board for the remaining term, unless lawfully removed in accordance with Section 58 (5) of the County Government Act.

Through Kinoti and Kibe Advocates, Gateria had filed a petition on May 5 alleging contravention of his fundamental constitutional rights.

"I seek prayers that the declaration by the second respondent (Wambora) to interdict me violated Article 251 of the Constitution," Gateria told the court.

He had further sought to have the move to interdict him squashed and the board's decision made during his absence declared null and void.

But in replying affidavits, the county government accused Gateria of being a non-performer in a letter addressed to the petitioner and dated March 3.

"Complaints against inept performance of the office of the chairman," the letter read in part.

It further said there were numerous written letters and verbal complaints against the applicants from majority of Embu residents.

Wambora noted the petitioner was obsessed with the board's independence which he said was not anchored in the Constitution.

"Gateria had irregularly terminated the services of 60 county employees without following principles of natural justice as required," said the governor.

He was also accused of spending most of his time in seminars with the board secretary and falling to confirm the appointment of four county officers.

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