Nairobi — An accounting officer sacked for alleged mismanagement of funds has been reinstated after the Employment and Labour Relations Court reversed the decision pending full hearing of the case.
Valentine Chemeli Chumo had lodged a petition in court challenging the decision of Nandi County Government to sack her in what her lawyer termed as a "pure witch hunt."
Lawyer Katunga Mbuvi told the court that the petitioner had been forced to account for alleged misappropriation touching on a Bursary Report for April 2018 notwithstanding that at this period of April to June 2018 the accounting officer was Stanley Bariech while " she was in the department of Tourism, Culture and Social Welfare."
"The County Executive Committee Member for the Department of Education and Vocational Training was Stanley Bariech who had adamantly refused to hand over to the petitioner and the governor is aware," the lawyer told the court.
Mbuvi submitted that Chemeli would have no knowledge or information regarding the welfare and operation of the Department of Education and Vocational Training before September 17, 2018 when she was transferred and logically, there was no way she could have updated the County Assembly Committee on issues she was not aware of.
"To her this is open malice, a witch-hunt and a well calculated move to unlawfully remove her from office," Mbuvi added.
The court heard that the County Assembly Committee released a report on March 31, 2019 recommending Chemeli's removal from office for mismanagement of Education and Vocational funds.
Her lawyer said she was never accorded any audience to the issue and the committee members knew very well that she was not the accounting officer at the department then.
The report had been adopted on April 11, 2019 giving her seven days to move out of office before she rushed to court.
'It is a witch hunt contrary to the labour laws and practices," Mbuvi submitted.
The court has directed that Chemeli remains in office until the matter is heard and determined.