Graduate officers to pocket millions in new court order
Hundreds of graduate police officers are set to pocket hundreds of millions following a court order that reinstated their salaries.
The special salary allowance paid to over 1,700 graduate constables that was cancelled in November last year has been reinstated and backdated.
A court had earlier ruled that there was no rank like graduate constable and the circular that allowed the officers such a salary equivalent to that of an Inspector was no longer valid thus the salaries paid were illegal. The officers had their salaries slashed after they were moved from Job Group J to Job Group F.
Reinstatement follows a ruling and order by the Employment and Labour Relations Court that they get back their salaries and which also declared the move to reduce their pay as illegal.
As a result, the affected officers are expected to get around Sh400,000 each in arrears, totaling to over Sh700 million.
The National Police Service Commission Chairman Eliud Kinuthia, in an internal memo dated October 3 and addressed to the acting Inspector General of Police Noor Gabow and acting Director of Criminal Investigations Hamisi Massa, directed that the salaries be backdated to the date of reduction.
Kinuthia said a more comprehensive circular on the subject matter will be issued and withdrew an older one that had ordered the reduction of the monies.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the reinstatement of remuneration is in respect of ‘Graduate Constables’ who were earning the enhanced salary of an Inspector of Police before the implementation of the circular and should be backdated to the date of salary reduction without the loss of any benefit,” he directed.
Five officers -Ayub Mathenge, Mbusiro Dorothy, Robinson Cheruiyot, John Kariuki and Meshack Mutukho – had moved to court to challenge the decision, claiming there was no communication that the commission would reduce their salary.
Through lawyer Danstan Omari, the officers argued that at the time of recruitment, there was a circular that anybody joining the service with a degree automatically gets the salary of an Inspector of Police.
Justice Nduma Nderi on Monday quashed the said decision, saying it was arbitrary, unreasonable, unlawful and a blatant violation of the accrued rights of the officers from the date of their recruitment to that when they were demoted for no good cause and their remuneration reduced to their great loss and detriment.
The affected officers had moved to court to oppose a move by police authorities to reduce their salaries.
Justice Mathew Nduma Nderi directed the Inspector General of Police and NPSC to continue paying graduate officers the consolidated salary equivalent to that of individuals in Job Group J that they were earning prior to the “unilateral, unreasonable, and unlawful” decision to reduce their pay. “An order prohibiting the first and second respondents, either by themselves, their agents, or servants, from in any manner reducing graduate officers’ pay, the subject of this application, from Job Group J to Job Group F, as in the letter dated November 17, 2021, issued by the First respondent, is issued,” Justice Nderi said. “A declaration is issued that the National Police Service Commission and Inspector General of Police unilateral decision to reduce graduate officers recruited on diverse dates from Job Group J to Job Group F was arbitrary, unreasonable and unlawful,” the Judge added.
Pay cut affected officers who were being paid salaries equivalent to the rank of inspector but were downgraded to the rank of constable. They were, however, not paid house allowance for Inspectors.
Police authorities argued that the slashing of the salaries was informed by the amendment of NPSC Act 3 of 2014, which allowed the commission, on the recommendation of the IG, to review all matters relating to the human resource policies of members of the service.
Amendment also allows the commission, with the advice of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, to determine appropriate remuneration and benefits for the staff.