Embattled Nzoia Sugar Company managing director Michael Makokha is back to work after the Employment and Labour Relations Court lifted his suspension pending hearing and determination of a case filed.
Makokha argued that Agriculture CS Peter Munya contravened the Constitution for illegally suspending him through a letter dated June 7 for a period of three months starting June 10.
Justice Onesmus Makau said that the order shall be in effect for a period of 21 days.
Through his lawyer, Bryan Khaemba, Makokha told the court that the power to engage and employ staff including the Chief Executive of State corporations lies with the Board of Directors, and the Minister and the committee has only the power to approve terms and conditions of service.
“Unless this matter is urgently heard and determined, Makokha will continue to be subjected to an illegal process, prejudiced and embarrassed both in his professional and social standing,” Khaemba said.
The matter was certified as urgent.
The MD was relieved of his duties to pave way for investigations into alleged misappropriation of Sh700 million belonging to farmers.
About a week ago, CAS for Agriculture Lawrence Omuhaka revealed that the decision to suspend the MD was arrived at by the state in a bid to restructure the company.
Makokha was replaced by Chrispinus Omondi, in an acting capacity.
“Makokha has failed in his duties and the minister saw it good o restructure the firm through suspending the MD. Already, a team of investigators are on the ground probing the alleged corruption issues,” said the CAS.
Reports indicate that during Makokha’s tenure, farmers did not receive pay for at least 9 months. Makokha was also accused of neglecting company machines that have not been serviced for close to six years.
He is also said to have awarded tenders worth millions to his cronies without following due procurement procedures. For instance, he is said to have awarded a close ally a contract worth Sh200 million for a biometric machine.
It is alleged that he diverted company funds for individual use, a move that was detrimental to the company as it incurred debts worth millions of shillings.