NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 22 – Former Principal Secretary Lilian Omollo was on Thursday awarded Sh1 as compensation in a case in which she had sued the govermnent for unfair dismissal when she was facing corruption charges.
Yes, you read it right, One Shilling is what the former Principal Secretary was awarded by the Employment and Labour Relations Court.
Justice Stephen Radido, found and held that the government breached her constitutional rights and her dismissal was equally unconstitutional, but decided that she can only be awarded Sh1.
She is facing corruption over a scandal at the National Youth Service (NYS) where hundreds of millions was looted under her watch.
“The Petitioner was not subjected to due process, nor was she given reasons for the removal from office under the hand of the President. She was ingeniously notified that her tenure had ended because a replacement had been appointed,” Justice Stephen Radido said.
The judge said public officers have a legitimate expectation, due process as envisaged under Article 236 of the Constitution would be observed in the process of their removal from office.
The Judge, however, said that because Omollo, who is currently battling corruption charges, was found to have unexplained wealth, the amount awarded was adequate compensation for the violation of her right to due process.
Omollo has already filed an appeal against a decision of the High Court found, which ordered that more than Sh33 million held in various accounts belonging to her are proceeds of crime.
She sued the government arguing that she was still presumed innocent and was entitled to half-pay, as the corruption case went on before a magistrate.
She was appointed PS for Public Service and Youth in December 2015. And when she was charged with corruption among other offenses in 2018, she was notified of her suspension on half-salary pending the finalization of the criminal charges.
In May 2020, the Public Service Cabinet Secretary wrote to her that her appointment had lapsed with the appointment of another person as the Gender PS. The decision prompted her to move to court.
She also sought service gratuity at the rate of 31 percent of the basic remuneration package for the term served and restoration of all her withheld salary and allowances for the years under suspension.
Omollo also sought general damages for the breach of her constitutional rights and the right to legitimate expectation.
In reply, the government said being a presidential appointee, Omollo held an office of public trust, and because she had been charged with corruption offenses, she was suspended as expected under section 62 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act.
“Once a person has been appointed as a Principal Secretary, he or she becomes a public officer. As such public officer, the Principal Secretary becomes entitled to the protections assured to all public officers by Article 236 of the Constitution,” the Judge said.