Judge Nullifies TSC Disciplinary Panels’ Decisions
A judge has nullified the Teachers Service Commission’s (TSC) disciplinary panels’ decisions that were not chaired by any member of the Commission.
Justice Byram Ongaya ruled that a disciplinary panel must include at least one commissioner who also chairs the session.
The ruling has serious ramifications in the teaching fraternity with multiple disciplinary cases conducted by County Directors of the Commission or other officials in the management.
Justice Ongaya said that the authority of the Commission’s members cannot be delegated to individuals who are not members of TSC.
The Commission in a resolution that was passed in a meeting held on the 14th of 2020, resolved that hearing of all categories of discipline cases except for reviews should be heard by the management.
However, regarding an employment dispute that pitted TSC against one of its staff in the secretariat, Justice Ongaya said that the Commission’s Human Resource Manual provides that the disciplinary panel must be chaired by a Commissioner.
Rose Mwende Mutisya, a TSC secretariat officer was the one who filed the petition in August last year after being dismissed over irregular promotion of teachers.
“Thus (the TSC HR Manual) being an instrument made under the statutory provisions, the court finds that indeed its provisions could not be changed internally by the TSC without involving parliament as envisaged in the Statutory Instruments Act, 2013 – and which has not been shown to have been done,” ruled Justice Ongaya.
In the petition, the court was told that an internal audit report revealed the irregular promotion of twenty-two teachers in the payroll without any documentary evidence of approval in their personal files.
It was decided that the staff took advantage of the high number of teachers approved for promotion to irregularly add other promotions into the payroll system.
Following a TSC probe, the resultant report recommended five employees who had been previously warned or cautioned on accounts of erroneous adjustments of salaries and subsequent overpayment be subjected to disciplinary action.
Mutisya being one of them was interdicted on the 16th of December, 2021.
The disciplinary panel that had been constituted to hear the case was chaired by Mr Kenneth Marangu who is an employee of TSC and four other members. However, none of them was a commissioner.