National Bank of Kenya (NBK) has been ordered to pay its former managing director Munir Sheikh Ahmed Sh26.5 million for illegal termination of his employment.
Employment and Labour Relations court Judge Byram Ongaya ordered the bank to pay Munir the amount by December 15 this year.
The court further ordered the bank to retract a damaging notice it published over alleged misconduct and governance.
The notice was placed in the print media on March 30, 2016 and the Judge said the lender should retract it in the print media, contents of which must be approved by his lawyer Issa Mansour.
In the decision, the court said the bank breached Munir’s right to fair labour practices, the right to a fair disciplinary and administrative process.
According to the Judge, the lender denied him adequate time and opportunity to respond to the allegations made against him.
“A declaration that the termination of petitioner’s employment was unprocedural, unfair, unlawful and wrongful as it was contrary to provisions of Articles 41 and 47 of the constitution sections 41,43 and 45 of the Employment Act and section 4(3) of the fair administrative actions,” ruled the judge.
Munir had sought a compensation of Sh453, 489,133 from the bank.
He also sought to be reinstated to his former position on the terms that he previously enjoyed for the reminder of the contract period.
The former MD also sought pay arising from his salary accrued benefits from April 2016 until the date of reinstatement.
Munir was sacked before he completed his five year tenure at the helm of the struggling bank.
Some 16 months were remaining to the end of his five year term and his reputation should not therefore be soiled as it was prejudicial to his professional undertaking.
The court heard that upon receiving the show-cause letter, Munir was escorted out of from office by the bank security team.
“The allegations against me were vague, the time allowed to prepare defence was too short and termination was based on the interim report by the bank’s external auditors Deloitte and Touche”, he told the court.
He told the court that the bank’s decision to terminate his employment was made way back in May-June 2015 when board’s remuneration and HR committee met several times.
He said the teams laid the ground for the termination of his contact and at that time the bank’s interim financial statements for June 2015 to September 2015 had not been prepared.
He said the allegations levelled in the showcase letter were contemplated and executed by the bank’s board itself and audit completed in March 2016 was only used to justify the dismissal.
He further added that after the publication in the newspapers on March 30, 2016 by the bank, Inspector General of police informed the public he had ordered his immediate arrest and that of senior management officers.
NBK had opposed Munir’s petition claiming he was served with the notification of a disciplinary hearing and showcause notice.
According to bank response to the petition, the letter to Munir reffered to the contract of employment and the meeting with the bank’s board of directors and the external auditors on March 23, and 24, 2016.
The letter further stated that as Munir was aware, the auditors revealed material differences between the bank’s financial results appeared to have misrepresented and did not not present the correct financial position.
It is based to that auditors report the bank considered to terminate his contract for gross misconduct occasioned by hs failure to take appropriate action to ensure the bank’s financial results reflected the current position.
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