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Arrest warrant out for two in teachers’ dues case

Tuesday July 26 2016

Solicitor-General Njee Muturi addresses lawyers during the Law Society of Kenya conference at Leisure Lodge Beach Resort in Diani, Kwale County, on August 13, 2015. A court has ordered Mr Muturi to respond to a case concerning the payment of retired teachers' pension arrears. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Solicitor-General Njee Muturi addresses lawyers during the Law Society of Kenya conference at Leisure Lodge Beach Resort in Diani, Kwale County, on August 13, 2015. A court has ordered Mr Muturi to respond to a case concerning the payment of retired teachers' pension arrears. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ERIC MATARA
By ERIC MATARA
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JOSEPH OPENDA
By JOSEPH OPENDA
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A warrant of arrest has been issued against Director of Pensions Shem Nyakutu and Solicitor-General Njee Muturi for failing to appear in court over a case in which retired teachers are seeking Sh42.3 billion in pension arrears.

“The court wants to see the two in person to explain the delay in the disbursement of the funds and why they have failed to honour orders by the Supreme Court. That is how serious we are with this case,” High Court Judge Janet Mulwa ruled Monday.

Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia and the two had been summoned by the court to explain why the 52,000 retired teachers have not been paid their Sh42.3 billion pension arrears, as ordered by the Supreme Court, and the steps they are taking to clear the dues.

The TSC boss, who was in court on Monday, defended herself saying the commission has no mandate to pay pensions.

She said its role is to make claims and liaise with the Director of Pensions for the disbursement of funds.

“The dilemma we are in cannot be handled by the TSC alone. We have to liaise with other government offices to effect the payments,” said Ms Macharia.

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She disclosed that the agency was working with the relevant offices and that the disbursement of part of the cash was at an advanced stage.

“The retirees will soon be paid Sh3 billion, which has been approved by Parliament,” she said.

Ms Macharia faces a six-month jail term for contempt of court regarding orders directing the TSC to liaise with the relevant offices to pay the retired teachers.

The former teachers filed contempt of court charges against the TSC boss early last month.

The ex-teachers’ lawyer, Mr Dominic Kimatta, told the court that the Attorney-General’s office was derailing the disbursement of the funds.

He unsuccessfully requested the court to also summon the AG, whom he accused of failing to advise the State on the need to release the pension arrears.

“Why should the process take so long yet the teachers’ records are available?” he posed.

The hearing of the case is set for August 15, with Mr Nyakutu, Mr Mturi and Ms Macharia expected in court.