Former Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) CEO Ezra Chiloba has moved to court to sue his former employer over wrongful dismissal.
Chiloba was sacked in October last year after serving a three-month compulsory leave since April 2018, which was turned into a suspension on June 14, 2018. Through his lawyers, Wandabwa Advocates, Mr Chiloba is now demanding at least Ksh52.5 million as compensation.
“The claimant’s claim arises from a series of actions by the Respondent (IEBC) that were illegal, irregular, unfair and unjustifiable which can be categorised into (1) compulsory leave (2) suspension and (3) termination,” says Mr Chiloba in his Memorandum of Claim.
The former CEO says that the decision to send him on compulsory leave was arrived at in the presence of three commissioners against the required quorum of five, and that he was not accorded a chance to defend himself.
“The Claimant was not afforded an opportunity to be heard regarding the intention to send him on compulsory leave, before it was effected. The decision to send the Claimant on compulsory leave lacked a legal basis as there is no provision in the Human Resources and Administration Policies and Procedures Manual that provides for compulsory leave,” he states in the petition.
Chiloba was sacked following a flawed procurement process before the 2017 general election, in which the presidential election was nullified and a repeat election done.
In March 2018, Chiloba admitted that the commission lost money through inflated transport contracts.
On September 13, 2018, Chiloba’s personal assistant Abednego Ominde was arrested as he tried to make away with 14 files from the procurement and finance department.
He was arrested alongside acting IEBC Finance Director Agatha Wahome and accountant Fatma Jama.
Confirming the incident was the commission’s chairman, Wafula Chebukati said “Yes, I can confirm that the said individual who is a PA to the suspended CEO was nabbed at the basement parking with the files. I don’t want to speculate on the motive but you can tell.”
Chiloba defended Mr Ominde who he says “was going to run copies of the relevant documents in preparation for my return to work on September 14, 2018.”
“I personally requested copies of the relevant documents to be ready on my return to work. This is not unusual and therefore the officers should not be victimized for doing what they are supposed to do in good faith,” said Chiloba.
In May this year, IEBC re-advertised the Chief Executive Officer position months after calling for applications.
It was then reported that few Kenyans had applied for former CEO Ezra Chiloba’s job prompting the commission to re-advertise it.
Through an advertisement in the local dailies, the commission advised those who had applied earlier for the position to reapply afresh.
In June, the Employment and Labour Relations Court temporarily suspended the hiring of the a new CEO following opposition by Chama Cha Mawakili (CCM).
According to the lawyers’ lobby group, IEBC was not following the law in its pland to replace Chiloba.
The electoral commission had earlier in June shortlisted ten candidates out of 97 applicants for that position.
They included Mabonga Joel Lusweti, Nakitari Okuku Humphrey, Aura Zephania Okeyo, Kioko Paul Christopher Kimali, Kariuki Nancy Wanjiku, Marjan Hussein, Murigi Elishiba Muthoni, Tarus Benjamin Kipchumba, Mwasi Anne Kerubo and Khalid Billow.
The Interviews were to be carried out at the Commission’s offices at Anniversary Towers 6th Floor from June 24 to June 26.