What you need to know:
- In 2018, the Court of Appeal referred the matter back to Labour court in Kericho for assessment and remedies.
- The Kericho court reinstated Mr Sitienei back to his position and awarded him salary arrears.
- The university is now seeking to withdraw the matter it filed at the Supreme Court.
- The officers, despite not contesting the decision for withdrawal, want the court to grant them the cost of the application.
The University of Eldoret has been forced to spend over 58 million to defend a case in which two officers claimed Sh39 million for unlawful dismissal in 2016.
Mr Hosea Sitienei, (Finance officer) and Prof Ezekiel Kiprop, (deputy vice-chancellor) successfully petitioned the court to award them a Sh38.9 million compensation for the unlawful disciplinary action.
The case, which started at the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Kericho, went through the Court of Appeal and then to the Supreme Court.
After High Court Judge DKN Marete dismissed their case, the two officers, through their lawyer Kipkoech Ngetich, moved to the Court of Appeal in Nakuru which ruled in their favour, declaring their sacking null and void.
Appeal judges Roselyne Nambuye, Fatuma Sichale and Sankale ole Kantai in 2018 referred the matter back to Labour court in Kericho for assessment and remedies.
The Kericho court reinstated Mr Sitienei back to his position and awarded him salary arrears owed to him from June 2016 or an alternative Sh14.7 million while Prof Kiprop, whose retirement date was due, was awarded Sh24 million.
The university, aggrieved by the decision, moved to the Supreme Court to appeal against the judgement.
But the apex court ruled that the application had no merit and dismissed it on April 30.
Later in May, the university again filed another application at the Supreme Court seeking to file another appeal.
However, by this time, the officers had already pursued the sums of money owed to them as ordered by the court through garnishee proceedings.
The university is now seeking to withdraw the matter it filed at the Supreme Court.
In its application dated July 3, the university, through its lawyers, claims the appeal will be an exercise in futility since the officers have already received their money.
But it requested the court to issue no orders regarding the cost of the application.
“We submit that since the subject matter of the appeal has been extinguished, proceeding with the appeal would be an exercise in futility,” read the application.
The officers, despite not contesting the decision for withdrawal, want the court to grant them the cost of the application.
Mr Sitienei, in his affidavit, claims the university’s appeal was malicious and meant to frustrate them.
In the case, the officers had sued the University of Eldoret, its vice-chancellor and the Attorney-General.
Court documents seen by the Nation with a summary of all expenses incurred by Prof Akenga in relation to the court case indicated that the university has used a total of Sh58,313,158 in the litigation of the cases involving the two officers.
Mr Sitienei claims the university has used the matter as a cash cow to siphon money from the institution.
“Why would the applicants use all that money as legal fees to defend against such an award yet that money is nearly double of what they were to pay us?” wondered Mr Sitienei.