Court halts Telkom Orange Kenya's sale
25 April 2014, 08:07
Nairobi - The Industrial Court has issued a temporary injunction to stop Telkom Kenya Limited from selling 37 of its prime properties.
Justice Njagi Marete issued the orders barring the largely French owned Company from entering into sale agreements with a third party regarding its sale of properties until it has settled an eight year old award of Sh 3.2billion to 997 retrenched workers.
“Pending the interparties hearing of this case, I hereby issue a temporary injunction restraining Telkom Kenya limited and the Attorney General, or any person whatsoever acting on their behalf from entering into a sale of Telkom Kenya to a third party , selling any of its 37 listed properties among others or until it shall have settled the claimants’ dues,” said Justice Marete.
The judge directed the former employees though their lawyer Antonny Oluoch to present the orders to Telkom and the Ag who are to respond to the suit in seven days before appearing in Court on May 15 to confirm compliance as well as seek further directions.
In the suit filed by 997 former Telkom Kenya employees who were retrenched in 2006, they claim that Telkom has begun to dispose its prime properties in a bid to clear its financial crisis and avoid getting into bankruptcy.
They argue that the disposal of assets would greatly destabilize their payment agreement as agreed as awarded by the Court of Appeal siting in Nairobi.
“The sale would fatally impair the claimants ability to get their award, the sale of the Company to a third party or its properties should be stopped until proper agreeable arrangements have been put in place to secure the said payments or settle the award,” said Mr Oluoch.
He added that: “Disposal of its prime properties and given its liquidity crisis may end up going into insolvency thus critically making it impossible for the former employees to get their award.”
A restructuring program in 2006 saw 2500 employees aged over 50 years to have their employment contracts terminated.
The workers who have been awarded a declared two and half month salary as well as a retrenchees golden handshake, moved to the High Court before Justice Hatari Waweru to pursue their retrenchment dues as Telkom failed to play its role as affirmed in the plan to send them home.
They then moved to the Court of Appeal which upheld the High Court ruling on September 28, 2011 which was in their favour.
However Telkom filed a suit at the Supreme Court seeking certification that the matter raised issues of general public importance which was dismissed.
Telkom Kenya limited is 30 percent owned by Kenya and 70 percent owned to France in shareholding and recently announced its intend to move out of Kenya and are seeking a buyer.
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