Matiang’i bared from sacking official over land dispute

By: ERIC MATARA

A Nakuru Court has barred Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i from sacking a junior information officer allegedly in relation to a family land dispute.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nakuru on Thursday restrained the Information CS, who is also acting Land CS, from punishing Ms Veronica Bosibori King’oina, a Kenya media information officer in Nakuru.

According to court documents, Ms King’oina was shown the door after sending the CS an abusive text message.

Justice Stephen Radido issued temporary orders barring the CS from sacking the employee or stopping her salary until a case in which she is challenging her dismissal is heard and determined.

“It is in the interest of justice that I allow the petitioner to seek a review of her sacking and in the meantime restrain the CS and the Public Service Commission from sacking her, stopping her salary or doing anything prejudicial to the case until the suit is determined,” ruled Justice Radido.

Court documents quote the termination letter to Ms King’oina that reads: “The officer is hereby dismissed from employment due to gross misconduct.”

The lournalist allegedly wrote the abusive text message to the CS following a disagreement over the ownership of a piece of land pitting Mr Matiang’i’s brother against the officer’s family.

Ms King’oina, through her lawyer David Mongeri, has, however, disputed the facts, arguing that the termination of her employment was unlawful.

She has sued Mr Matiang’i, the Public Service Commission and the principal secretary, among others.

She accused the CS of malice, claiming that he was using his powers as a Cabinet secretary to trample on her constitutional rights.

“This was (a) witch-hunt (by) an overzealous officer abusing his position to undermine his juniors,” Mr Mongeri told the court.

He said the CS reached the decision without allowing the officer a fair hearing or providing a notice prior to the termination of her employment and condemned her unheard.

However, lawyer Nguyo Wachira, for the Attorney-General, told the court that the officer was sacked because her act was an embarrassment to the employer.

The case will be heard on January 22.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION