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Union fails in bid to reinstate bank staff in Sh6.3m case

Summary

  • Banking Union has lost a bid for reinstatement of a former Absa employee who was sacked five years ago after a teller walked away with Sh6.3 million from the bank’s Thika branch.
  • Banking Insurance and Finance Union had challenged the sacking of Esther Wanjiku Kiunyu, who was fired in 2015 for negligence.
  • The Union termed the termination as unfair and unlawful and Ms Wanjiku demanded her reinstatement to her former position without losing her employment benefits and seniority.

Banking Union has lost a bid for reinstatement of a former Absa employee who was sacked five years ago after a teller walked away with Sh6.3 million from the bank’s Thika branch.

Banking Insurance and Finance Union had challenged the sacking of Esther Wanjiku Kiunyu, who was fired in 2015 for negligence.

The Union termed the termination as unfair and unlawful and Ms Wanjiku demanded her reinstatement to her former position without losing her employment benefits and seniority.

But Justice Hellen Wasilwa said Ms Wanjiku was subjected to a fair disciplinary process and there was no indication that she was condemned unheard.

“In the circumstances, it is my finding that there were valid reasons to warrant termination of the Claimant being negligence in the performance of her duties,” the Judge said.

The former supervisor at Thika branch sued Absa seeking about Sh3.6 million for sacking her without notice. She also wanted 12 months’ pay and all her allowances.

Investigations by the bank revealed that a teller identified as Nicholas Mulei took Sh4 million from the cash vault, an amount that was remotely authorised by Ms Wanjiku.

The bank said Ms Wanjiku was not the custodian of the vault as she was standing in for another person, but she would authorise such movements of cash.

She testified that her authorisation had limits and if the cashier wanted the vault to withdraw money, he was required to fill out a treasury out form. She said Mr Mulei wanted Sh4 million from the strong room and thus filed and stamped the form and took it to Anthony Muli, the custodian.

She was then given the form by Mr Muli and she updated the system to indicate the movement of the money.

Some four hours later, it was discovered that Mr Mulei had disappeared into the thin air, taking with him another Sh2.3 million, which he had collected from customers.

But she defended herself saying the bank had four ‘authorisers’ within the Branch, including herself.

Bu the bank said she unprocedurally authorised the money, yet she had no mandate or responsibility in the transaction.

According to the bank procedures, the custodian and the teller were to walk to the vault to bring out the money together and then confirm the money and put it in the system. But this was not done.