Court summons Ngilu over Kitui doctors’ unpaid salaries

Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu has been ordered to appear in court for failing to pay 19 doctors their salaries for four months.

Ms Ngilu and the county public service board were ordered to appear before Justice Monicah Mbaru to explain why they defied directions to pay the doctors their dues by October 5, 2021.

Justice Mbaru ordered the governor to attend court in person on October 14, 2021 for sanctioning.

The judge had earlier directed the governor to attend court on October 7, 2021 to confirm she had paid the medics.

“The 19 medics have not been paid their salaries since July 1, 2021,” lawyer Henry Kurauka, who is representing the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentist Union (KMPDU), said.

KMPDU moved to court to secure payment of the outstanding salaries of the aggrieved doctors.

In the petition, the union says the doctors have not received their salaries since July 2021.

“Failure by the respondents to pay the doctors July 2021 salaries is in breach of employment rights according to Section 17 of the Employment Act and Article 41 of the Constitution,” Mr Kurauka told Justice Mbaru.

Post graduate studies

The judge was told that the affected doctors had been allowed to pursue two-year post graduate studies with full pay.

However, the doctors were abruptly recalled from Ukraine, Tanzania and America where they had gone to further their studies.

The respondents then proceeded to institute disciplinary proceedings against the doctors on August 5, 2021.

Consequently, KMPDU moved to court to stop the disciplinary proceedings, terming them malicious and callous.

KMPDU states that the respondents are in breach of Section 4.2 of the Discipline Manual for the Public Service by withholding the doctors’ salaries during the pendency of the disciplinary process.

The manual says that a public officer is entitled to half of his or her basic salary, full house allowance and medical insurance cover during the disciplinary proceedings.

In the suit, KMPDU is seeking an injunction to restrain the Kitui county government from stopping payment of salaries or dismissing the doctors from employment.

The union is also seeking payment of damages equivalent to 12 months salaries to all the aggrieved doctors.

The county government and its various committees had allowed the doctors to pursue specialised courses overseas to improve public health in Kitui.

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