Embattled Nzoia Sugar Company MD Michael Makokha has been reinstated two weeks after Agriculture CS Peter Munya suspended him.
Employment Court Judge Onesmus Makau has stayed the decision by the CS to send him home pending the hearing and determination of the case filed by Makokha.
Justice Makau on Tuesday certified the matter as urgent and ruled that the stay order shall operate for 21 days.
Through lawyer Bryan Khaemba, Makokha had asked for leave to file an application which has been granted but he must do so within the next three weeks.
“If the intended application is not filed within 21 days, the stay order shall lapse automatically,” the court order reads.
Khaemba told the court that his client received a letter dated June 7, 2021, from Munya suspending him from office for a period of three months effective June 10.
He says Munya told the MD that the suspension was to pave way for investigations into alleged complaints against him.
The complaints were from various stakeholders and leaders from the western region alleging financial impropriety and non-payment of farmer’s arrears amounting to over Sh700 million.
They also claim that Makokha has withheld staff salaries to the tune of approximately Sh2 billion.
However, Khaemba argued that the CS acted unlawfully in suspending the MD which is contrary to the Act on state corporations.
“Section 5(3) of the State Corporations Act vests the power to engage and employ staff including Chief Executive of a state corporation on the Board of Directors, and the Minister and the committee with only power to approve terms and conditions of service,” reads court documents.
Khaemba asked the court to issue a stay because Makokha would suffer irreparable harm due to the suspension further claiming that Munya had directed him to hand over his duties to Dr Chrispine Omondi.
“Unless this matter is urgently heard and determined, Makokha will continue to be subjected to an illegal process, prejudiced and embarrassed both in his professional and social standing,” Khaemba said.