Former KBC staff stopped from auction in pay war


Kenya Broadcasting Corporation headquarter in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Former employees of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) have been stopped from auctioning the broadcaster’s equipment to recover Sh46.7 million arising from salaries they ought to have been paid after their sacking in 2006.

The Court of Appeal put on hold plans to auction the national broadcaster’s equipment, saying the attachment and sale of KBC’s assets would cripple its operations, yet broadcasting is a matter of public interest.

Further, the court said the argument on the legality of the procedure for executing any order against KBC is arguable as KBC Act restricts attaching or selling the property of the broadcaster.

“To our mind, absence of stay pending appeal would pave the way to execution and sale of the applicant’s immovable assets, which would render the intended appeal worthless or futile,” Justices Agnes Murgor, Sankale ole Kantai and Imaana Laibuta ruled.

The 267 employees successfully sued KBC after they were retrenched in June 2006. They argued that the retrenchment was illegal because the employer did not involve the Communications Workers Union.

Justice Hellen Wasilwa had in November 2020 directed KBC to pay each of the employees 12 months' salary.

The former employees later moved to court seeking to attach KBC’s property for refusing to pay Sh46.7 million. The workers hired Viewline Auctioneers to attach KBC’s moveable property to recover the debt.

But KBC later convinced Justice Monica Mbaru to suspend the proclamation for 14 days, pending the appeal. The judge, however, allowed the application on condition that the employer pay Sh39.8 million within 14 days or the former workers proceed to sell.

The former workers opposed the application for the suspension of the decision and a schedule of payments was adopted by the court in January 2021 but KBC has refused to pay.

The court of appeal said the argument on the validity of the execution of the decree were strong.

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