Court orders g******g firm to pay former staff Sh12m in terminal dues

Tuesday, February 7th, 2023 08:00 | By
Court orders gambling firm to pay former staff Sh12m in terminal dues
Court hammer. PHOTO/Courtesy

Gambling firm Betika will now have to pay its former technology boss Fred Gitonga Njagi his full dues totalling over Sh12.5 million.

This is after Justice Jacob Gakeri of the Employment and Labour Court declined to endorse the application by Shop & Deliver Ltd, popularly known as Betika, to withhold two-thirds of Gitonga’s terminal dues of Sh12,562,575 after he was summarily fired last year following fraud allegations at the company.

“I find that withholding of Gitonga’s terminal dues by Betika was unjustifiable in law, and the avenue user to seek relief lacked the necessary anchorage, the application is unsustainable and is accordingly dismissed with costs, “the judge ruled.

Gitonga was appointed the head of technology at the betting firm in December 2017 and confirmed six months later. He was earning a Sh1.9 million salary a month.

It is alleged that Gitonga stole Sh11 million from the firm between January 13 and February 3, 2022, being a servant of Betika. He was arrested and charged before Milimani Chief Magistrate’s court and the court freed him upon paying cash bail of Sh200,000. The case is still pending a hearing and determination.

Following the prosecution of Gitonga in April last year, Betika undertook internal investigations and took disciplinary action against him and before terminating his employment in August last year for gross misconduct.

And whereas the company is obligated to pay him Sh12.5 million as terminal dues, the firm decided to withhold Sh8.3 million, pending the conclusion of the criminal case.

The company then moved to court seeking the endorsement of the decision, arguing that it is apprehensive that it may not recover the money stolen from it and believes it would be best to withhold part of Gitonga’s terminal dues. 

The firm submitted that it has the right to withhold or deduct wages under Section 19 of the Employment Act, 2007.

But Gitonga’s Lawyer Henry Kurauka opposed the case, saying he has the right to fair trial by dint of Article 50(2)(a) of the Constitution, yet the company wants to condemn against the law.

In his decision, judge Gakeri concurred with lawyer Kurauka’s submission that although his client has a pending criminal case, he is still presumed innocent.

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