It is like a scene in Money Heist where LBDA Managing DirectorRaymond Omollo is ‘the professor’.
This is how, Mr Omollo, aided by LBDA’s legal department officials, a Mr Clifford Otieno and a Michael Okuk; and a lawyer for retrenched staff got away with a cool Sh200 million.
It all started when President Uhuru Kenyatta issued directive to all state agencies to clear pending bills.
Raymond Omollo and his legal department hatched a plan to recall a case involving staff who were retrenched some 20 years ago, and who case seeking compensation ‘was still fresh in court’.
Omollo crafted an out of court settlement that would see a case for compensation that had been ongoing withdrawn.
The two, Okuk and Otieno, in liaison with the Human Resource department, came up with a comprehensive list of 108 who had been retrenched in preparation for an out of court settlement.
Dealing with a stumbling block
One honest guy named Obiero voiced his reservations since the suit was statute-barred, meaning that the employees should have filed the petition within three years after being retrenched. They hadn’t, but Omollo had seen himself swimming in millions and nothing could stop him.
Obiero was hounded out of the legal department and sent to a little-work administration department. He couldn’t take this lying down, so he moved to court to challenge the redeployment. But Omollo, the criminal was ahead of him.
Greedy Mr Omollo defied court orders that required him to reinstate Obiero to his previous position, and instead ordered the security guards to bar him from accessing the offices in Kisumu.
Poor Obiero was forced to resign on February 23, 2020, after being attacked by security guard on January 21, 2020, an incidence he reported at Kondele Police Station.
The plan in motion
With the stumbling block out of the way, a retrenched employee, Samuel Opondo, would represent other 107 retrenched employees in withdrawing the case for an out of court settlement. LBDA was represented by Olel Onyango and Ingutia Advocates.
LBDA and the employees filed a mutual consent in the Labour Court in Kisumu before Justice Mathews Nderi, who allowed an out of court settlement.
The first batch of payments was done in May 2020; it didn’t matter that 16 of the 108 retrenched staff were dead and most of the others never knew about the compensation.
However, to silence those who came to know about the money later, Mr Omollo and his criminal gang paid them between Ksh50,000 and Ksh200,000 and warned of dire consequences if they raised any further issues.
A big chunk of the amount is said to have been pocketed by the officials.
A new court case and lame duck DCI & EACC
Some of the retrenched, who didn’t get compensated filed a suit in court, arguing that they never gave instructions for an out of court settlement. They say that the lawyer who represented them, Owala Advocates, acted without their consent.
A whistle-blower wrote to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission to investigate the case.
However, many months later, the case seems to have stalled as EACC and DCI have gone mum on the matter.
Dear Kinoti, what happened?