Juma in hot soup for harassing, intimidating senior immigration officer
03 July 2015, 08:28
Nairobi – The rejected nominee for Secretary to the Cabinet, Monica Juma has found herself in another storm after an officer in the Interior ministry where she serves as the Principal Secretary has accused her of forceful transfer and victimization.
Abednego Etyang’a, who was serving as an immigration officer, in a petition to the National Assembly claims Juma unfairly influenced his transfer to the Agriculture ministry following his criticism to the government’s plan of constructing a perimeter wall along the Kenya-Somalia border.
“The Principal Secretary for interior victimized the petitioner by transferring him from the Ministry of Interior and National coordination…the posting and subsequent directive by the PS to the petitioner to proceed on leave pending deployment mounts to intimidation and harassment of a public officer and is in contravention of the constitution, labour laws and the public service regulations,” reads part of the petition.
Etyang’a, who served as senior Deputy Secretary (job group R), wondered how the ministry could transfer him and even order officers to kick him out of his Nyayo House office.
He cited the Public Service Commission (PSC) rules and regulations which provide that re-designation is done by the Cabinet Secretary who can only transfer officers from Job group A to P, upon suitable recommendation of Ministerial Human Resource Management Committee (MHRAMAC).
Etyang’a links his irregular transfer to the controversial border wall that seeks to improve security surveillance with timely and accurate ground response.
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“Border security is complex. Integrated solutions that feature state-of-the-art border surveillance technology is required to provide real time, improved detection of activities and reduce the time taken between detection and interception through continuous tracking and capabilities to deal with threats,” Etyang’a had said in his criticism to construction of the wall.
“The ICT team from Immigration and Registration of Persons is ready to make a comprehensive presentation to you at your convenience,” he added.
Etyang’a’s criticism triggered an outburst from Juma, who immediately responded by telling him to keep off the matter and copied his statement to Interior Cabinet Secretary, Joseph Nkaissery and Immigration Services Director, Gordon Kihalangwa.
“Please note that all aspects of the Kenya-Somalia border project have been conceived and are being implemented within the framework of the National Security Advisory Council (NSAC) and no government department is involved in this project discreetly,” reads part of Juma’s letter to Etyang’a which was also copied to Nkaissery and Kihalangwa.
“It is also prudent and procedural to consult and seek guidance before writing letters that touch on programmes and policy directives,” it adds.
The head of Public Service Commission, Joseph Kinyua then responded by issuing a circular to all Cabinet secretaries and copied to PSC Chief Executive Officer, Alice Otwala stating that Etyang’a was shuffled to the ministry of Agriculture in the same capacity.
The circular added that Etyang’a was among eight officers whose transfers had been affected by the Central Human Resources Management Positing.
“All affected officers are required to report to their new work stations by 15th of this month (last week). The following postings have been agreed upon and should be for immediate effect,” reads Kinyua’s circular.
Two days later, Juma transferred Etyang’a to the ministry of Agriculture.
“You have been transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture with immediate effect. On receipt of this letter, you are asked to report to the PS Sicily Karuiki,” reads part of the letter dated 17th April, 2015.
On May 8, the Interior ministry wrote a show cause letter to Etyang’a accusing him of breaching the PS regulations which could not be tolerated.
“Consequently, this office is contemplating taking disciplinary measures,” reads a letter from Interior ministry on behalf of Nkaissery.
Following Etyang’a’s failure to respond to numerous demands letters to report to his new station, Juma ordered him to proceed on leave with immediate effect on 12th May pending his deployment out of the Interior ministry.
Therefore, Etyang’a asks the National assembly to establish whether due process was followed in his transfer and wants the whole process revoked.
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