Mercy Mwai @PeopleDailyKe
Suspended Kenya Forest Service (KFS) officers have claimed that they were illegally hounded out of office. The officers also blamed Environment Cabinet secretary Keriako Tobiko and KFS board chairperson Peter Kinyua for their tribulations.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Environment chaired by Maara MP Kareke Mbiuki yesterday, the officers shocked MPs with claims that Tobiko and Kinyua “conspired at night to send them home.” Led by the Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) Emilio Mugo, they alleged that their sacking was unprocedural adding that they were never even given a chance to defend themselves.
The employees, who literary broke down, told the legislators that they have suffered since then and their efforts to find out the reason behind their dismissal have been futile.
They claimed that Kinyua sanctioned their dismissal yet he has no powers to do so as the law only permits the Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) to ask them to step aside once investigations have been done.
In particular, Mugo told the members that the process leading to their suspension was totally flawed as Kinyua did not follow the laid down procedure.
Mugo said that his sacking did not come as a surprise as at one point Tobiko addressed a press conference, looking furious and before then, he held a meeting with Kinyua for more than 30 minutes which was unusual.
“The chair said: I’m sorry that I am the one doing this, hawa watu wamenisukuma sana (these people have really pushed me),” Mugo told the committee.
Deputy chief conservator for plantations Wasike Simiyu could not control himself and broke down while narrating how he was unprocedurally dismissed.
Head of finance Patrick Nyagah claimed his dismissal was personal as he had issues with Kinyua over a motorcycle that had been donated by friends of Arabuko Sokoke forest.
Captain John Miriti, a board member, accused Kinyua of making unilateral decisions. Mbiuki said the committee will summon all the board members to appear before the committee next week to shed light on the matter.