Economy

Settling of business premises rows to delay as team suspended

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Trade Cabinet Secretary (CS) Betty Maina. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Determination of disputes in the business premises tribunal (BPT) will stall for a while following the suspension of five members picked by Trade Cabinet Secretary (CS) Betty Maina last month to preside over the tribunal.
  • The appointment of Mr Cyprian Mugambi Ngutari, Ms Patricia Chepkurui, Mr Kyalo Mbobu, Mr Andrew Mutuma and Mr Chege Charles Gakuhi was put on hold by Justice Maureen Onyango to await the outcome of a petition filed by lawyer Benard Odero Okello on July 28.
  • Justice Onyango of the Employment and Labour Relations court was told the BPT is a quasi- judicial body whose members are supposed to be appointed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and not the Cabinet Secretary for Industrialisation, Trade and Entrepreneurship.

Determination of disputes in the business premises tribunal (BPT) will stall for a while following the suspension of five members picked by Trade Cabinet Secretary (CS) Betty Maina last month to preside over the tribunal.

The appointment of Mr Cyprian Mugambi Ngutari, Ms Patricia Chepkurui, Mr Kyalo Mbobu, Mr Andrew Mutuma and Mr Chege Charles Gakuhi was put on hold by Justice Maureen Onyango to await the outcome of a petition filed by lawyer Benard Odero Okello on July 28.

Justice Onyango of the Employment and Labour Relations court was told the BPT is a quasi- judicial body whose members are supposed to be appointed by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and not the Cabinet Secretary for Industrialisation, Trade and Entrepreneurship.

Mr Okello told the judge that the procedure used to appoint the five members of the BPT to take over from the Mbici Mboroki team whose term expired June 14 this year was wrong and irregular.

Ms Maina published the names of the five in the Kenya Gazette Notice Number 4244 of June 22 2020.

The appointments were to take effect from June 22 for a term of three years.

Mr Okello claimed that the CS did not advertise for the posts so that interviews and vetting could be conducted and those who qualify be appointed

“The CS settled on the five members as the qualified one without disclosure to the public on the process employed to arrive at them,” Mr Okello told the court.

He told the told the court that the CS also breached the two-thirds rule by selecting only one woman Patricia Chepkurui and four men contrary to Article 27(8) of the Constitution.

The lawyer is asking the court to prohibit the CS from appointing the five as members of the BPT and further asking the court to quash the Gazette Notice.