Fred Gitonga Njagi entire salary
Fred Gitonga Njagi'

The betting company Betika will now be required to pay Fred Gitonga Njagi's entire debt, which is in excess of Ksh12.5 million.

This comes after Justice Jacob Gakeri of the Employment and Labour Court failed to approve the request by Shop & Deliver Ltd., also known as Betika, to retain two-thirds of Gitonga's Ksh12,562,575 terminal debt after he was unceremoniously sacked last year related to racketeering charges at the firm.

The court said, "I conclude that Betika's withholding of Gitonga's terminal dues was illegal, and the avenue employed to seek redress lacked the required anchoring. The application is thus unsupportable and is rejected with costs."

Gitonga joined the betting company in December 2017 and was promoted to head of technology six months later. His monthly salary was Ksh1.9 million.

As a Betika employee, Gitonga is accused of stealing Ksh11 million from the company between January 13 and February 3, 2022.

In front of the Milimani Chief Magistrate's Court, he was detained and charged. However, he was released by the court after posting a Ksh200,000 cash bond. The matter is still pending.

After Gitonga was charged in April of last year, Betika launched an internal probe, disciplined him, and then fired him for gross misconduct in August of the same year.

Furthermore, despite having a contractual obligation to pay him Ksh12.5 million in terminal dues, the corporation chose to hold back Ksh8.3 million while the criminal investigation is still ongoing.

The business subsequently tried to have the judgment upheld in court, claiming that it was concerned it may not be able to retrieve the money that had been stolen and thought it would be appropriate to withhold some of Gitonga's terminal fees.

The business claimed that Section 19 of the Employment Act of 2007 gives them the authority to withhold or deduct pay.

Gitonga's attorney, Henry Kurauka, disagreed with the case, arguing that the firm seeks to convict him in violation of the law despite his right to a fair trial under Article 50(2)(a) of the Constitution.

Judge Gakeri agreed in his ruling with attorney Kurauka's argument that even if his client is facing a misdemeanor trial, he is still presumed innocent.

The court found that the applicant's (Betika) arbitrary conduct in suspending the respondent's (Gitonga) terminal debts on the justification that the respondent had an active criminal case was unreasonable and illegal for the aforementioned reasons, the judge said.

The court also said that "it concurs with the arguments made by Gitonga's attorney that a charge sheet did not constitute a sentence or prove guilt."

"The required level of proof was beyond a reasonable suspicion, and the claims awaited verification by strong evidence."

The withholding of income or wages, according to Justice Gakeri, is only permitted in certain clearly specified circumstances, such as when an employee has accepted an advance or is subject to a suspension, penalty, or other valid reason.

"Gitonga remains a criminal or suspected person and is entitled to all constitutional protections accorded to accused persons, including the right to an unbiased jury and the assumption of innocence," the judge said.

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