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Ezra Chiloba sues IEBC for wrongful dismissal

Sunday September 22 2019

Ezra Chiloba

Former IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba. He was sacked on October 12, 2018. FILE PHOTO 

WALTER MENYA
By WALTER MENYA
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The former chief executive of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Ezra Chiloba, has sued the electoral management body for wrongful termination of his employment, almost a year since he was sacked.

In a suit filed before the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC No. 617 of 2019) through his lawyers, Wandabwa Advocates, Mr Chiloba is demanding at least Sh52.5 million as compensation for the decision to sack him on October 12, 2018.

COMPULSARY LEAVE

“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 which was filed on September 16.

Starting with the decision of April 6, 2018 to send him on compulsory leave, Mr Chiloba says the process was fraught with irregularities, including the fact that the decision was arrived at in the presence of only three commissioners, contrary to the provisions governing the conduct of the business affairs of IEBC which requires a quorum of five commissioners.

He accuses IEBC of not having communicated in writing, “or at all” to him that the meeting of the April 6, 2018, would have as one of the agenda items, the commission’s intention to send him on compulsory leave.

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In any event, he says, the purported Internal Audit Report on whose strength the commission acted to send him on compulsory leave was not duly processed in accordance with the law.

PETITION

“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.

On his suspension on June 14, 2018 subsequent to the Employment and Labour Relations Court decision that allowed IEBC to deal with the CEO in “a manner which is provided for in terms of the contractual agreement between the Claimant and the Respondent”, Mr Chiloba says IEBC became reactionary so as to circumvent the court’s decision.

“The suspension was unlawful and irregular for … irregularly converting compulsory leave to a suspension without lawful justification and/or due process,” he says.

TERMINATION

On his termination on October 12, 2018, Mr Chiloba says the Notice to Show Cause letter and the invitation to provide oral defence to the audit questions against him were just meant to regularise a predetermined outcome.

Moreover, he states that he was never afforded time and resources to respond as his request for additional time and access to documentation and relevant commission personnel to respond to the Show Cause letter or prepare for his oral defence.

“The Claimants termination had already been predetermined, and was biased. Further the procedure undertaken before terminating the Claimant’s employment was an abrogation of the Claimant’s Constitutional Rights,” states Mr Chiloba.