Details have emerged of how Co-operative Bank of Kenya short-changed 169 sacked employees whom it had downsized years ago, and how it applied fishy tactics in court to ensure the applicants do not appeal the ruling that was in favour of the respondent.
The terminated employees are seeking over KES 800 million as compensation for unlawful dismissal after they were terminated, their employer quietly recruited new talent with new staff drawn from families of senior executives and board members from the bank.
Judge of appeal Asike Makhandia has now directed Co-operative Bank to provide the applicants with typed proceedings that determined the ruling that was made on 9th February 2023.
‘’The judgement was delivered on the 9th February, 2023 and the applicants being dissatisfied with the decision filed a notice of appeal. That, the applicants ought to have filed the record of appeal within 60 days from the date the notice of appeal was lodged in accordance with rule 82 of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2010. This was not done for the reason that the applicants had not obtained typed proceedings, which were only availed to them on 3rd July 2023 after the lapse of the said 60 days,’’ reads the ruling in part.
In context, the judge pokes holes in the ruling that favoured Co-operative Bank of Kenya where the court failed to evaluate properly the evidence produced by employees who had been declared redundant in support of their case.
‘’On the arguability, the applicants have in the record of appeal set down 23 grounds of appeal. One of the grounds is that the learned Judge erred both in fact and law when he failed to evaluate properly the evidence that had been adduced by the appellants in support of their case when he proceeded to dismiss the application yet the applicants had made out an arguable case that raised legitimate questions worthy considerations among others which I have had a chance to go through,’’ Judge of appeal Asike Makhandia notes in a ruling dated 27th October, 2023.
The new appeal filed in court may set a new precedent in subsequent rulings in Kenya, where a judge of appeal discredits a fellow ruling bringing into question both external and internal interferences corporates play to influence judgements.
Also, the new twist raises credibility issues on how former National Land Commission vice chairperson Abigael Mbagaya told a Milimani Court that a disputed parcel of land situated in Nairobi’s Donholm Estate worth KES 1 billion belongs to Co-operative Bank of Kenya CEO Gideon Muriuki Gidjoy Investment Limited. Members of the Sowesava Self-help group are also claiming ownership of the land.
Gidjoy Investment Limited in court filings insists Sowesava Self-help Group are land fraudsters out to defraud the tier 1 bank chief executive officer.
Even as this happens, DalanewsKe has learnt that Co-op Bank has hired the son of former director of criminal investigations George Kinoti as Head of ICT and the daughter of Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi as the Head of Human Resource Management (HR).
“They are here perhaps to balance both the Kenya Kwanza side and previous regime that Co-op Bank owners financially supported,” a highly placed source told this publication yesterday.