Andrew Teyie: My position is not redundant as someone has been appointed in acting capacity in it.

Another journalist fired by Nation Media Group (NMG) has sued the media house for Ksh100 million for wrongful dismal. Andrew Teyie, who was Investigations Editor attached to the Sunday Nation, was declared redundant alongside news editor Mugumo Munene. It’s not clear whether Munene is suing as well.

Teyie’s suit, filed on Friday April 1st, comes just weeks after Nation Special Projects Editor Denis Galava slapped Nation Media Group with a demand of Sh250 million for unlawful sacking. Teyie accuses NMG of unlawfully terminating his services as a writer for digging into the Eurobond and the National Youth Service (NYS) scandals and not because of  redundancy as alleged in his sacking letter.

“Our client is aware and is in possession of information that indicates that he was shoved out of employment for reasons other than redundancy but for reasons based on quid pro quo between a major and leading shareholder of your company and the State on issues he had reported or published on Eurobond and NYS stories at his workplace that the State was uncomfortable about,” he says in his affidavit filed by Helington & Associates. “Our client intends to rely on the said communications at the filing of his case to the full extent and effect.”

Teyie adds that he has been reliably informed that his position has not been scrapped and that, in fact, there is someone who is holding the position in acting capacity.

“The reason(s) for this action of decision on your part convinces our client that there was no valid reason for his termination apart from personal vendettas,” the lawyers argue.

Teyie protests that contrary to the universal rules of natural justice, he was denied the opportunity to be advised or heard on the so called redundancy, which he says was unfair.

His other case is  that under section 4 (1) (b) of the Employment Act, NMG was “required to notify the employee and the labour officer in charge of the area where the employee is employed of the reasons for, and the extent of, the intended redundancy not less than a month to the intended date of termination on account of redundancy.”

A star performer

Being a member of a trade union, Teyie accuses NMG of flouting the law by purporting to offer him less treatment, emoluments and benefits less than that offered to unionisable employees. This, he says, is contrary to the spirit and intention of the Employment Act in particular clause18 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement currently in place.

He adds that he has been a star performer and has delivered exceptionally, leading to high ratings on performance and subsequent salary increment.

His opinion is that his fate had been predetermined and he only underwent termination on account of redundancy only for window dressing, as he had stepped on peoples toes for questioning mediocrity and unwanted interference on ongoing journalistic investigation and reporting.

“Our client believes that he was targeted by you in a bid to protect some outsiders who are under investigation or were under investigation on corruption matters,” the affidavit reads in part.

His case echoes that of Galava, for whom Teyie is listed as a witness. Galava is also in court claiming NMG procedurally terminated his services without a benefit package despite being a permanent and pensionable employee. He was shown the door after authoring a stinging editorial that indicted President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 2015 score card. Like Galava, Teyie alleges a senior state official instigated the decision to fire him.

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