A former Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) staffer in Kisumu, who was dismissed in 2001, has pleaded with the government to intervene so he can be paid his dues.
According to court documents, the Court of Appeal in 2014 ordered that he be paid Sh92,000 and interest to be calculated at the court’s rates.
Mr Patrice Opati, 56, through his lawyer James Mwamu, said he successfully argued his case at the Court of Appeal in Kisumu, prompting a three-judge bench to award him for damages. The bench was headed by now Chief Justice David Maraga.
“I have a family…thus pleading with the government, Attorney-General Githu Muigai and KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini to intervene and help me get my dues,” he said.
Mr Opati spoke at the Nation Bureau office in Kisumu on Friday. He narrated that he was employed by KRA in 1984.
“On April 2001 I received a letter from my employer suspending me from duty on allegations of lack of integrity and negligence upon which I was asked to show cause why I could not be dismissed from employment,” Mr Opati narrated.
“I responded in writing immediately denying the allegations of impropriety and demanded an oral hearing but instead received a dismissal letter.”
Mr Opati said he was compelled to file a suit in the Kisumu Chief Magistrate’s Court, stating that his dismissal was malicious and against the rules of natural justice as he had not been given a hearing.
The court found that he was unlawfully dismissed from employment and awarded him Sh48,000 being three month’s salary in lieu of notice and Sh576,000 being arrears of salary from May 2001 to March 25, 2003 when the suit was filed.
He was also awarded Sh54,912, being his contributions to the pension scheme; thus making a total of Sh678,912.
The court also ordered that he be paid the money with interest thereon and the costs of the case.
However, KRA successfully appealed the verdict at the High Court in Kisumu, prompting him to seek redress at the Court of Appeal.
The three-judge-bench – the now Chief Justice Maraga and justices Festus Azangalala and Sankale Ole Kantai – reversed the High Court verdict and found that KRA failed to give him an oral hearing as required by its own code of conduct.
The judges said KRA failed to determine Mr Opati’s fate “expeditiously so that he could organise the affairs of his life”.
“We find that the appellant (Mr Opati) is entitled to damages, which we assess at an equivalent of six months’ salary. At the gross salary of Sh16,192 as per the appellant’s pay slip of the record that works to Sh92,152.”
“In the upshot, we allow this appeal in part, set aside the learned judge’s decision as well as the trial court’s award and substitute it with an award of Sh92,152 plus interest thereon at court’s rates…” they ruled.
Mr Opati said he had only received part of the amount he was awarded.
“I have only received about Sh42,000 sixteen years since my woes began in 2001,” he said, urging the government to intervene and help him out.