Kisii University will be required to convince a judge why its bank accounts should not be attached to a debt of Sh92.4 million owed to over 200 former employees.
The 204 who were sacked in 2020 had pleaded with the Employment and Labour Relations court to reinstate the freeze issued last year, after the university failed to honour a deal it agreed with them, to pay the money in instalments.
Justice Stephen Radido said the university should show cause why funds in its bank accounts at KCB and National Bank of Kenya (NKB) should not be used to settle the debt.
The judge noted that it lifted an order issued in September last year directing the two lenders to release the money to the former workers on condition that the debt would be settled in instalment.
“The Union (Kenya Universities Staff Union) has now demonstrated that the university did not satisfy the terms of the consent it voluntarily entered into,” the judge said.
The former employees who include clerks, secretaries, procurement officers, cateresses and hall officers accused the university of terminating their jobs illegally.
When it fired them, the university stated that the growth of the institution had not been commensurate with the available resources and that the revenue from fees from privately sponsored students had declined.
After moving to court, Kisii University told the court that the parties were negotiating. Thereafter, the court entered judgment in favour of the union and directed the parties to compute their dues after retrenchment.
It was the court’s determination that the workers were unfairly and wrongfully declared redundant.
It ordered the university to pay each of the former staff the equivalent of seven months gross wages as compensation.
The amounts were computed but the University failed to settle, forcing the union to file proceedings for the accounts attachment.
The parties went back into negotiations culminating in a consent order that was adopted by the court on November 24, 2022, under which the university agreed to pay the terminal benefits amounting to Sh169.7 million to the workers in instalments.
In the consent, the parties agreed that the university’s bank accounts would be operated normally and that failure to honour the deal would cause the freeze reinstated.
“In light of the above the court issues the following orders. The parties to address the court on a date to be agreed herein on why a garnishee order absolute should not issue,” the judge said.