The Chief Executive Officer of the troubled Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) Terry Ramadhan now says despite issuing a redundancy notice to lay off bolted workforce which has largely eaten into their budget, some staff including those who were indicted during the cOVID-19 heist.
The staff has moved to court to block the management from effecting the changes.
This is after the Employment and Labour Relations Court in November 2021 barred the authority from declaring redundant or terminating the services of its staff.
Ramadhan lamented that the courts had held its administration captive as would-be affected staff had secured various court orders at the employment and labor court and the high court.
“Our courts have always acted irregularly as they have continuously stopped us from doing the process, in my view, they should have let us do and then now they can come back and go to court and say it was done improper,” she told the committee chaired by Endebess MP Robert Pukose.
She added they have not had the opportunity to do the process.
Seme MP Dr. James Nyikal advised KEMSA to seek Attorney General’s advisory to unlock the various court orders as well as be able to navigate on the redundancy notice.
The CEO however refuted claims that management had sent its staff on compulsory leave saying that nobody had been fired or terminated.
“Nobody was laid off. Nobody lost their job. What happened was, as the board was trying to implement this new establishment, then it means anybody or contract when the contract ends, then it’s not renewed. So that’s not being fired, that your engagement has come to a natural close, because contracts expire at the end of their life,” she said.
In the revised staff establishment, KEMSA has provision for 341 staff against an old establishment of 870 employees, who are serving on permanent and pensionable terms as well as those on contracts.
There are at least 40 staff on short term and secondment basis.
“When the notice for redundancy was issued, and a group of staff obtain orders and stop the entire process from continuing. So we couldn’t even have conversations in structure.”
“However, because of the level of disruptions internally and the fact that we were also still in COVID disruptions, the Board gave directions that only a certain number of staff would work from the office and others to work from home. And that still is the current situation,” she added.
According to the CEO, the current structure does not support critical functions including planning, quality management, partnerships, resource mobilization and compliance mechanism which has heavily affected the effectiveness in service delivery.
“And because we haven’t finished the process of restructuring, we cannot disengage the contractual obligation to the employees. The same employees went back coop one way or the other and have now gotten a court order saying we must continue to pay their salaries,” she said.
The CEO lamented that the institution is reeling in huge pending bills amounting to Sh5.7 billion including counties (Sh3.2 billion), Ministry of Health (Sh700 million), GOK facilities (Sh565 million), development partners (Sh848 million and others Sh350 million.
During the working tour, the committee promised to pass enabling legislation to assist KEMSA to deliver its role and mandate.