Labour Court has sided with former Betika employee Fred Gitonga in a terminal dues case following his dismissal in August last year.
Justice Jacob Gakeri threw out a case filed by Shop & Deliver Ltd, popularly known as Betika, to withhold 35 percent of Gitonga’s terminal dues.
Betika was to pay Gitonga Ksh.12.5 million as terminal dues but only wired Ksh.4.2 million awaiting the conclusion of Gitonga’s criminal case.
Gitonga was accused by Betika of stealing Ksh.11 million between January 13 and February 3, 2022.
The betting firm submitted that it has the right to withhold or deduct wages under Section 19 of the Employment Act, 2007. The company wanted the court to back its decision on the ground that it may not recover the alleged stolen cash.
The submission was, however, opposed by Gitonga on the grounds that he had the right to a fair trial in line with Article 50(2)(a) of the Constitution, arguing that the company wanted to condemn the law.
Justice Gakeri opposed the case by Betika saying Gitoka was still innocent until proven guilty as much as he has a pending criminal case.
“For the above-stated reasons, it is the finding of the court that the applicant’s unilateral act of withholding the respondent’s terminal dues on the premise that the respondent had a pending criminal case was unjustified and unlawful.
Needless to emphasise, the respondent remains a suspect or accused person and is entitled to all the constitutional rights of an accused person, including the presumption of innocence and fair trial before an impartial court,” the judge ruled.
Until the termination of his contract, Gitonga was earning Ksh.1.9 million monthly as the Head of Technology, the position he secured in December 2017.