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Music Copyright Society to pay ex-CEO Sh23m for illegal sacking

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Summary

  • The Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) has been ordered to pay its former chief executive officer Wambati Simiyu Sh23.6 million for unlawful dismissal.
  • Employment and Labour Relations judge Onesmus Makau made the order saying it was wrong for the employer to terminate his contract and fail to give him reasons.

The Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) has been ordered to pay its former chief executive officer Wambati Simiyu Sh23.6 million for unlawful dismissal.

Employment and Labour Relations judge Onesmus Makau made the order saying it was wrong for the employer to terminate his contract and fail to give him reasons.

“The failure to explain the reason for the termination of the petitioner’s contract of employment and accord him a fair hearing as contemplated under section 4 of the Fair Administrative Actions Act and section 41 of the Employment Act violated his right to fair administrative action as envisaged under Article 47 of the Constitution,” the judge said.

The judge noted that it was wrong for the employer to send Mr Simiyu on a prolonged compulsory leave, saying it was unjustified, made worse by the failure to pay his salary.

Mr Simiyu was employed as administration manager on September 26, 2008 until January 12, 2017 when he was appointed the CEO on a four-year contract.

He was given a letter on May 14, 2018, sending him on 60-day compulsory leave to allegedly pave way for investigations into accusations levelled against him. Before he could report back to work, he was issued a letter on July 2, 2018 which extended his suspension to August 27, 2018 because the investigations were not yet complete.

He said he has never received any communication on the findings of the investigations or calling him to any disciplinary proceedings or directing him to report to office, and was not served with a termination letter.

Mr Simiyu accused the employer of withholding his salaries from January 2018 and failing to remit statutory deductions to the Kenya Revenue Authority, National Hospital Insurance Fund and National Social Security Fund as well as loans to two banks.

As a result, he told the court that he has tax arrears of Sh1.1 million and cannot be issued with a tax compliance certificate for the years 2017 to 2020.