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Court: Release Sh1.5bn due to retired teachers

Tuesday August 16 2016

Director of Pensions Shem Nyakutu appears in the High Court in Nakuru on August 15, 2016.

Director of Pensions Shem Nyakutu appears in the High Court in Nakuru on August 15, 2016 during the hearing of a case in which retired teachers are demanding that the government pay them Sh42.3 billion in unpaid salaries and pension. PHOTO| SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ERIC MATARA
By ERIC MATARA
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JOSEPH OPENDA
By JOSEPH OPENDA
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The High Court in Nakuru has ordered the Director of Pensions to release Sh1.5 billion, which is part of the Sh42.3 billion sought by retired teachers, within 30 days.

Justice Janet Mulwa issued the directive when Director of Pensions Shem Nyakutu appeared before the court and confirmed that his office had received the cash from the Treasury.

“By consensus of lawyers of all parties, the Sh1.5 billion held by the Director of Pensions should be paid starting with the 1997 lot. The director shall undertake the payments within 30 days and report back to court the status and way forward on the balance,” said Justice Mulwa in her ruling.

The judge warned that action would be taken if the Pensions Department fails to honour the agreement.

Mr Nyakutu appeared before the court after a warrant of arrest was issued against him on July 26.

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Warrants of arrest against Mr Nyakutu and Solicitor-General Njee Muturi were issued after they failed to appear in court over a case in which the 52,000 retired teachers are seeking to be paid Sh42.3 billion in pension dues.

DELAY IN DISBURSEMENT

The court wanted the two to explain the delay in the disbursement of the funds and why they had failed to obey orders by the Supreme Court to pay the retirees.

The court on Monday extended the warrant of arrest against the Solicitor-General, who failed to turn up to explain the pension arrears standoff.

Mr Nyakutu told the court that his office received the Sh1.5 billion on June 25 and will release it to the retired teachers’ accounts in three weeks.

“We have the money in our account and it is just a matter of a few procedures before we release it,” said Mr Nyakutu.

He said the pensions staff were working hard and ready to receive the retired teachers’ claim forms.

Mr Nyakutu said his office was working with other stakeholders, including the Controller of Budget, the Teachers Service Commission, and the Attorney-General, as well as the retired teachers, to ensure the cash is efficiently released.