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September 25, 2018

Court reinstates six Bungoma Public Service Board members

The Bungoma county government offices.PHOTS JOHN NALIANYA
The Bungoma county government offices.PHOTS JOHN NALIANYA

Bungoma Public Service Board members yesterday got a reprieve after a Kisumu court ordered their reinstatement.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court ordered the six to resume work immediately. They are Gideon Sirai, Janet Manyasi, Elizabeth Wanyonyi, Peter Masengeli, Steven Wesonga and Bonvenja Wasikoyo.

The six had filed an interim application to prevent their termination as the hearing continues.

Justice Nduma Nderi ruled that the county government has no mandate or jurisdiction to disband the board or fire members.

“I, therefore, find the petitioners were wrongfully dismissed and by that, the county government is ordered to have their jobs reinstated and their salaries paid,” she ruled.

Petitioners’ lawyer Calistus Shifwoka told the Star they expect the county government to respect the order. He said the court was clear that the board is not meant to serve the governor’s interests but the public’s. “We know what has been transpiring with the various court orders, but we expect them to respect this one,” Shifwoka said.

But county government lawyer Amos Makokha said he will consult his client for the next course of action. “If my client is not satisfied with the ruling, we will have to appeal,” he said.

The board, whose tenure ends next year, has been feuding with Governor Wycliffe Wangamati over county appointments.

Last November, the county assembly Public Administration Committee, led by Naitiri Kabuyefwe MCA Joan Lukatiri, investigated the board.

The county assembly approved the committee’s report and recommend the board’s dismissal.

In November last year, Wangamati warned the board against taking bribes from applicants seeking the chief officer positions. He said some people had paid up to Sh50,000 to members of the board.

“Such corruption will not be entertained and only those who merit will be allowed to serve in my government,” Wangamati said.

But chairman Sirai has denied the claims. The board has accused Wangamati of interfering with its work and seeking to influence appointments.

The court will give direction on the next hearing on May 18.

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