The application against Kenya National Commission for UNESCO secretary general’s conduct has been certified as urgent and will process on a priority basis.
Judge James Makau also directed the service to be effected withing the next four working days through electroninf means to wit; email and/or WhatsApp.
“I am satisfied the application is urgent. The same is certified urgent and is allowed to proceed to hearing on priority basis during the COVID-19 interruption period and exparte in the first instance.
The judge further added that the petition be dispensed by way of video conferencing either through zoom or skype during the COVID- 19 interruption period.
The matter will be mentioned on 9th June 2020 for directions and confirmation of compliance.
The Kenya National Commission for UNESCO secretary general/CEO Dr Evangeline Njoka is being sued over gross misconduct and material non-disclosure.
In a certificate of urgency, the petitioner, Jeremiah Memba Ocharo accuses Njoka of having been recruited into the position by the Education Cabinet Secretary in a manner which was not competitive since the CS never followed the competitive employment procedures.
Njoka has allegedly been the CEO of KNATCOM for seven years, having been appointed irregularly to the position in the year 2013 and again offered another five year term in 2018.
KNATCOM is a state corporation under the ministry of education established by the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO Act 2013, to coordinate UNESCO activities in Kenya.
Through lawyer Dantsan Omari, the petitioner claims that Njoka failed to disclose to the board when offered a second term that she was due for mandatory retirement upon attainment of 60 years with effect from 3rd June 2020.
“It is also noteworthy that her second reign is now dogged in controversy, the shift in carrying out the Commission’s mandate has drastically changed and veered towards succession politics,” says Ocharo.
The petitioner aver that the respondent has consistently breached recruitment procedures which now signify a broken system that is likely to have ramifications on the way the public views the organization and the ability to attract high calibre professionals who will be motivated to seek employment.
He claims that a high level of internal hemorrhage of staff in senior management within the last two years, due to strife for their rights against the commission through the courts is alarming and warrants immediate intervention.
“Central to the downward trend has been unwarranted review of human resource instruments, which were undertaken between May and August 2019, in line with government directives,” Ocharo states.
The petitioner accuses the CEO of taking advantage of the directive to institute a series of confounding measures which included overseeing the abolishing of critical positions contrary to the Public Service Commission (PSC) Guidelines of 2015 on establishment and abolition of offices.
Lawyer Omari says there has been an increased number of court cases that have all been deliberated upon by the board indicative of an incompetent CEO who is incapable or resolving simple labour related issues but geared at supporting the unlawful decisions of the CEO.
The CEO is also accused of misappropriating public resources.
Ocharo claims that Njoka plundered the commissions meager resources in several ways including hiring legal services, sponsoring her driver who was on terminal leave for retirement to attend the UNESCO General Conference of November 2019 for one-week at a possible cost of Sh 298,452 excluding air ticket. The driver had no meeting to attend other than sightseeing.
She is also said to have retained the said driver beyond the mandatory retirement age of 60 years w.e.f December 2019 without PSC Authority yet she retired the Librarian on the same day.
“This officer will continue earning over 1 million shillings per annum for the next three years yet he holds a non-specialized skill job which is contrary to the law. This is differential treatment among employees based on ethnicity,” states the petitioner.
It is also alleged that on 17th September, 2019 there were uproars from the public over bribery allegations and complaints against Njoka and three other officials of the Commission.