Sacked varsity VC drags Matiang’i into pay row

Education Secretary Fred Matiang’i. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Education Secretary Fred Matiang’i. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Education secretary Fred Matiang’i has a hand in stalling compensation to sacked Technical University of Mombasa vice-chancellor Josphat Mwatelah, a lawyer claimed in court on Thursday.

Hebert Ashiruma, appearing for Prof Mwatelah, told Industrial Court Judge Onesmus Makau that Dr Matiang’i had directed the university’s senior management not to process the compensation ordered by court for unprocedural dismissal.

“The reason why the university has not tabulated the accruals of my claimant’s dues and benefits as per the court decree is that the second respondent has told them not to pay,” claimed Mr Ashiruma.

The lawyer further told the court that Dr Matiang’i, who has been listed as the second respondent in the case, had also made attempts to block Prof Mwatelah from assuming duty at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

“The second respondent has been issuing some directive from Jogoo House and that is why the university has not tabulated my client’s dues as ordered by this court,” said Mr Ashiruma.

The lawyer further withdrew a motion seeking the court to order for an adoption of a tabulation he had done reflecting total accruals his client was to be paid by the university.

The judge also heard that the university had not tabulated Prof Mwatelah’s dues which were to be filed in court for adoption, leaving the lawyer to do so.

The judge allowed Mr Ashiruma to file a contempt of court suit against the university for failing to implement his directive to compensate Prof Mwatelah.

In his ruling, Justice Makau found that Prof Mwatelah’s contract was terminated unprocedurally by Mr Matiang’i who he said lacked authority to sack university chancellors under the Universities Act and the institution’s charter.

He further ruled that the termination of Prof Mwatelah’s contract was unlawful since it was not written by the employer and ordered TUM to pay him.

Justice Makau also directed the council to pay the former vice chancellor all benefits accruing from his contract of employment and costs of the suit.

“It is of interest to note that the CS illegally terminated the claimant’s contract against the legal advice by the attorney-general who is representing him here,” said Justice Makau.

The Judge also said that the CS lacked power to appoint a VC of any public university without recommendation to do so.