The quest by 52,000 retired teachers to get Sh43 billion in salaries and pensions arrears has taken a new twist after the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) disputed the amount.
The TSC has filed an application at the High Court in Nakuru seeking to have Chief Justice David Maraga constitute a bench comprising three or more judges to clarify the amount.
In the application dated November 3, 2018, the commission claims that the former teachers have inflated the amount payable, contrary to the court’s direction.
The commission says the amount should be Sh17 billion, and not Sh43 billion.
Through lawyer Lawrence Karanja, TSC argued that the matter is of public interest, which should be handled by a bench of judges to create no room for errors in its determination.
“We pray that the court certify that the matter raises substantial questions of law and forthwith refer the case to the Chief Justice for appointment of a bench of uneven number of judges, being not less than three, pursuant to article 165 (4) of the Constitution,” part of the application reads.
The application, which was to be heard on Thursday alongside four others filed by various parties, failed to proceed after the court was informed that some parties had not filed their submissions.
Mr Karanja, who appeared before Justice Janet Mulwa, said he was yet to file responses to some of the applications thus needs more time.
The court granted his request despite objection by the retirees’ lawyer Dominic Kimatta.
“Mr Karanja on behalf of TSC is allowed 15 days to file his submissions and serve to various parties ahead of their highlighting,” Justice Mulwa ruled.
She directed that the matter be highlighted on February 13.
The retirees won the case on October 23, 2008 when Justice Maraga ordered TSC to process pensions based on salaries awarded in the 1997 agreement.
Subsequent appeals by the commission and the Attorney-General against the judgement in higher courts were unsuccessful after the Supreme Court in 2008 reaffirmed the ruling.
However, the teachers moved back to court complaining that the TSC had refused to pay them.
The TSC refuted the allegations, saying it had processed the claims and deposited payment at the pensions office.
The retirees further filed an application seeking to have the director of Pensions, Mr Shem Nyakutu, committed to civil jail for disregarding orders to pay them issued by the court in 2016.
Since the Supreme Court made the ruling in 2015, only 1,623 names out of the total 52,000 have been processed by the pensions office.
By Daily Nation