Relief for Ezra Chiloba as suspension quashed

Ezra Chiloba
Mr Ezra Chiloba, the polls agency CEO. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chief executive officer Ezra Chiloba will now resume his duties after a judge lifted his suspension.

Justice Stephen Radido said no one should hinder Mr Chiloba from carrying out his duties, pending the determination of a case over procurement at the commission.

Justice Radido said it was common and may be necessary at times to remove an employee from the workplace pending the outcome of an investigation.

He said the objective would allow investigations to proceed without disruption of evidence or preserve a safe, orderly and professional work environment.

But in Mr Chiloba’s case, the commission has not expressly provided for compulsory leave to allow for investigations which may lead to the removal of the CEO from office, even for a temporary period.

"The court therefore can conclude that sending the applicant on compulsory leave did not have contractual authority. There were options that were available to the commission but it did not consider them or reveal why they were not considered," the judge said.

He said it was not clear why the commission and its chairman Wafula Chebukati did not explain why they relied on a broad provision of law rather than the specific contractual provisions in dealing with the matter.

"In the view of the court, that broad provision of oversight mandate could not triumph over the contractual and legal provisions for dealing with case where disciplinary action may be implicated considering the constitutional, statutory and contractual protections assured public officers holders such as the applicant," he said.

Mr Chiloba had named Mr Chebukati and commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu in the case saying they acted in their personal interest.

But Mr Chebukati defended the suspension arguing that it was done in good faith and meant to enable the commission to undertake a comprehensive audit of all the major procurements that related to the 2017 General and repeat poll, which was held on October 26.

Through lawyer Andrew Wandabwa, Mr Chiloba moved to the Employment and Labour Relations Court to challenge the suspension.