The High Court has stopped the board of Nairobi Hospital from hiring a substantive CEO to replace sacked CEO Dr Allan Pamba.
Dr Pamba moved to court challenging his sacking, saying that it was illegal, revealing that the board was planning to unveil his replacement on December 10, a decision that would seal his fate.
Justice Nzioki wa Makau ordered that the case be heard on October 10.
Through his lawyer Paul Muite, Dr Pamba argued that the hospital can run smoothly since there is an acting CEO. He said that before he was hired in March, the hospital had remained without a substantive CEO for a full year.
“It is therefore mischievous for the respondents to insist on filling the position substantively, barely eight weeks after the unlawful termination of the claimant’s employment and when this suit has not been determined,” Mr Muite said.
Dr Pamba is demanding Ksh218.8 million in compensation from Nairobi Hospital if he is not reinstated.
In court files, Dr Pamba said the he was fired after refusing to unprocedurally award a multi-million tender for the installation of a security system at the hospital in March, weeks after he was appointed.
Dr Pamba says everything was wrong from the first day.
“I found myself being told what to do on operational rather than strategic matters. Committees were making operational decisions, which should not happen under normal circumstances with a non-executive board,” he said.
Dr Pamba, who holds a Master of Science degree in Public Health and a bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery from Moi University, gave the example of the board hiring senior managers – Human Resource and Finance director – going against the charter, which states that the CEO has the final say.
“It leaves one feeling just like a rubber-stamping officer. They deliberate, make decisions and then I am told to authorise using my signature, ” he added.
“Under ordinary practice, the board approves a full year budget once. The management is then charged to deliver targets against that budget, including the day-to-day operations of advertising and awarding tenders as per the hospital tender manual.”
Dr Pamba took over from Christopher Abeid who had been appointed as acting CEO following the exit of Gordon Otieno Odundo, whose contract was terminated in April last year.
Odundo’s exit followed a protracted row with the board of directors.
Prior to Dr Pamba’s appointment, he served as Vice President of Global Health at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a British multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Brentford, London.