Ex-editor sues ‘Standard’ for Sh67m

Standard Group Chief Executive Officer Sam Shollei. Former Standard Group Editorial Director Chaacha Mwita has sued the company for “wrongful termination” of his contract, arguing that Mr Shollei’s decision to sack him was not justified. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • Chaacha Mwita wants the media company ordered to pay him Sh67 million as compensation for four years that he should have worked at the firm.

Former Standard Group Editorial Director Chaacha Mwita has sued the company for “wrongful termination” of his contract.

Mr Mwita seeks to be reinstated in the position that he lost on April 1. Alternatively, he wants the media company ordered to pay him Sh67 million as compensation for four years that he should have worked at the firm.

The journalist filed his claim at the Industrial Court, arguing that Standard CEO Sam Shollei’s decision to sack him was not justified.

“The company did not take me through any known disciplinary process but proceeded to terminate my services without valid reasons,” he says in court papers.

He accused the firm of acting against the rules of natural justice by not giving him a chance to defend himself.

“I served the company diligently, professionally and contributed to the reversal of a steady decline in circulation of the newspaper.”

'HEAD-HUNTED'

He said Mr Shollei publicly humiliated him by instructing the head of security to physically eject him from the company premises “without any justifiable cause.”

Mr Mwita says he was head-hunted from the Thomson Media Foundation, UK, in November last year to oversee editorial operations at the country’s oldest media house.

He added that the company subjected him to public humiliation and mental anguish by having him physically ejected from the premises by head of security without any justifiable cause.

“The acts caused me and my family to suffer mental and financial anguish since I am unable to seek alternative employment due to lack of recommendation from the company. Despite informing them of my intention to sue, the company refused to address the issues I raised,” said Mwita.

He is seeking an order to compel Standard Media Group to reinstate him on his former position on the same or higher salary, benefits and the terms he was entitled to at the time of termination of his contract.

'UNPROCEDURAL MANNER'

In the alternative, Mr Mwita wants to be paid Sh58 million, being the basic salary of the remainder of the four-year term he was to serve, Sh8.1 million as gratuity for the full term of the contract and Sh745,450 for unpaid leave days.

Mr Mwita blamed Standard Group CEO Sam Shollei of being behind the move to sack him and for going against his earlier decision confirming him as the editorial director.

“I completed the probation in January and in February, the CEO confirmed to me through a memo that the management had approved my appointment and congratulated me on the same. He then turned back through unprocedural manner to terminate my contract,” said Mwita.

He added that Mr Shollei was hell-bent on tarnishing his reputation by convening a meeting of more than 1,000 members of staff to address them on the circumstances behind the sacking.

According to Mr Mwita, the company did not appreciate his efforts to boost the circulation of the newspaper, which he said was on a steady decline by the time he was appointed in August 2013.

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