Kenya: Nairobi Hospital Stopped From Recruiting CEO

6 December 2020

Nairobi Hospital has been stopped from hiring a chief executive officer, pending the determination of a case filed by Dr Allan Pamba who has challenged his dismissal in October.

Justice Nzioki wa Makau ordered the hospital to put on hold plans to hire a substantive CEO as Dr Pamba has demanded his reinstatement.

Through his lawyer Paul Muite, Dr Pamba told the court that the management of the hospital is planning to replace him on December 10, a decision that would defeat his case.

Justice Makau directed Mr Muite to serve the application to the hospital management and its chairman Irungu Ndirangu, who is listed as the second respondent. The case will be heard on December 10.

Mr Muite said another judge ruled Dr Pamba's case is arguable, with chances of success.

He said Dr Pamba stands to suffer prejudice if his position if filled by someone else.

The lawyer added that the hospital would not suffer any harm because it is running efficiently with an acting CEO.

"Mischief"

Dr Pamba said before his appointment in March, the position had remained vacant for more than a year.

"It is therefore mischievous for the respondents to insist on filling the position substantively, barely eight weeks after the unlawful termination of the claimant's employment and when this suit has not been determined," Mr Muite said.

Dr Pamba filed the case in October saying his dismissal was unlawful. He has demanded Sh218.8 million from Nairobi Hospital if he is not reinstated.

According to Dr Pamba, he was pushed out of the hospital over multimillion-shilling tender fights. He says he rejected illegal transactions by senior hospital managers.

Dr Pamba says he refused to award contracts to particular companies favoured by the managers. He says trouble started when he refused to prioritise a tender for the installation of a security system at the hospital in March, just weeks after he had been hired.

He says the security system, including CCTVs, were working properly but there was a campaign for the tender to be awarded to a specific term at a cost of Sh118 million.

Dr Pamba says he was coerced by a board member to call the company on March 27 to start the award process.

He told the court that he was asked to prequalify a law firm fronted by the same board member to be in the panel of advocates representing the hospital.

Alleged cover-up

Dr Pamba claims that he refused to prioritise payment to specific creditors and awarding a tender for debt collection to another firm that was being favoured by another board member.

He says the dismissal is also a cover up into investigations in the tender for the construction of a Sh1 billion Covid-19 hospital, which is being funded by the United Nations.

The tender was awarded to Quest Civil Engineers Ltd and not China Wu Yi Company, which had been recommended by the hospital tender committee.

"The respondents' conduct and the termination are unlawful and constitute a violation of the Employment Act provisions, the International Labour Organisation Convention, Nairobi Hospital Human Resource Manual on Probation and the claimant's contract," Mr Muite said.

Dr Pamba says he was summoned to a special board meeting on October 2, which he attended but was asked to step aside though the agenda did not state he was the subject of discussion.

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