Suspended boss of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Francis Wangusi has been given temporary reprieve after the High Court lifted his three-month suspension by the organisation’s board pending the hearing of a petition he has filed.
Through lawyer Tom Ojienda, Wangusi told the court that the CA board had acted illegally by purporting to send him on compulsory leave, and also alleged victimisation on other unrelated matters including interference of the running of the authority from the parent ministry.
(TOP: Francis Wangusi, the suspended CA boss).
In the petition, Wangusi claims that the board also wanted to interfere with the operations of the management of CA because of individual interests, which he had resisted.
Ojienda stated that the consequence of the illegal action is that Mr Wangusi had been painted as a “corrupt and indecent person unworthy of occupying a public position.”
“Unless therefore this matter is urgently heard and determined, the petitioner being a public figure and respected senior government official would continue being subjected to public ridicule and emotional and psychological torture without regard to his constitutionally guaranteed rights and fundamental freedoms,” Ojienda argues in his petition.
Wangusi was suspended by the CA board on January 12 this year for three months to allow the board conduct what it called “an audit independent of the human resource function” at the authority.
In a brief announcement, the board stated: “The audit will be carried out following a decision of the board of directors to organise the organisation, structure, promotions and training at the authority…. The decision was reached at the board meeting held on Friday January 12, 2018. At the meeting, the board appointed Mr Christopher Kemei as acting Director General. Mr Kemei is the director of Licensing, Compliance and Standards at the authority.”
In his petition however, Wangusi argued that the decision and the subsequent letter were not only unprocedural but also unreasonable, unlawful, malicious and illegal.
Prof Ojienda argued that the human resource policy manual says that reasons necessitating compulsory leave provides that when there is need to carry out investigations involving an employee to prevent any possible interference.
“He said the special board meeting held on January 12 was not a disciplinary meeting calling for any investigations… The board thus acted illegally, maliciously and unreasonably by applying a disciplinary action to a non-disciplinary case, he said…He further said that the board did not explain how Mr Wangusi would possibly ‘interfere’ with the human resource audit,” stated an article in Daily Nation.
According to the petition, Wangusi was never informed of any accusations against him prior to the board’s special meeting and neither was he given any notice. But the board, through its session chair Christopher Huka, issued a letter sending Wangusi on the compulsory leave.
The CA board as currently composed has no substantive chairman as the term of the previous chair, Ngene Gituku, expired and a new one is yet to be appointed by the President. Due to this, Ojienda pointed out that the current board is improperly constituted to make any legally binding decision.