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Kagwe risks civil jail for attempting to transfer two officers

Friday July 10 2020
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Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe speaking in Mombasa on July 9, 2020. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By WALTER MENYA
By ANGELA OKETCH

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe could be jailed for trying to transfer two senior officers of an agency under his ministry after a Nairobi court yesterday found him guilty of contempt.

The ruling by Justice Onesmus Makau marks a significant escalation in the tussle between Mr Kagwe and the two seniormost officers of the National Quality Control Laboratory (NQCL), Dr Hezekiah Chepkwony and Dr Pius Wanjala, whom he sought to transfer.

 “The Honourable Cabinet secretary, Mr Mutahi Kagwe, is hereby cited for contempt of this court’s judgment/decree dated January 31, 2020, for his decision contained in the letter Ref: 1991082265 dated June 12, 2020, deploying Dr Hezekiah K. Chepkwony from the National Quality Control Laboratory to the Kenya Medical Training College,” Justice Makau ruled.

The CS has been summoned to appear before the judge virtually, either personally or through his lawyer, on July 23 “for mitigation and sentencing.”

The court has also declared “invalid” the transfer letters to Dr Chepkwony and Dr Wanjala, seconding them to KMTC and the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

Dr Wanjala, who was expected to report to MTRH has been allowed to pursue further contempt proceedings against the CS.

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Mr Kagwe was found guilty of violating a January 31 ruling halting the medics’ transfers unless they “complied with the Constitution, statute law and the terms of their contracts of service as contained in the HR Policy and Procedure Manual for Civil Service”.

On January 31, the Labour court stopped former Health CS Sicily Kariuki from transferring the doctors; they filed a petition to stop the move.

They cited skills mismatch, disregard of court orders and little time to hand over and report to the new stations.

The doctors told the court that, the ministry delivered their transfer letters, dated June 12, on June 16 at 2pm, requiring them to report to their new stations the following day.

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