By Lilian Otieno
Kenya Airways Employees have strongly contested a move by a construction company Epco Builders limited, seeking to stay execution of Sh. 2.5 billion shillings awarded to them by an arbitrator for its failure to adhere to the agreement over the purchase of houses.
The 312 workers say they had paid ten percent as deposit and were to clear the balance upon completion of the houses.
Kenya Airways entered into an agreement with the construction company on three parcels of land for the housing project investment.
Through their lawyer Mr. Nelson Ashitiva, the investors told Justice Olga Osewe that Epco ltd. upon receiving the three parcels of land, entered into separate agreements with each individual purchasers.
He further said that the total deposits paid by the employees-the purchasers amounted to Kshs.100 Million, money used by the construction company to purchase the three parcels of land.
But the dispute between the employees and the proprietors of Epco arose when they demanded for a higher balance than what was in the contract. ” The employees were asked to pay Sh. 825,000 for three bedroom apartment and Sh. 575,000 for two bedroom which had not been agreed upon” the court heard.
This led to the referral of the dispute to arbitration where the Chartered Institute for Arbitrators appointed Mr. Martin Munyu as the sole arbitrator. He heard the dispute and on 23 August 2015 delivered an award in favor of the claimants.
Ashitiva submitted that Epco limited ought to have appealed against the decision of the arbitrator arguing that the 312 claimants are Kenyan investors who entered into individual contracts with construction company and have since been denied access to their rightful investments.
He urged the court to dismiss the application by Epco and allow execution of the award by the arbitrator to commence. However,
Epco Builders limited through lawyer George Kithi, sought the court to issue an order to stay the execution of the award, pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
Kithi argues that the appointment of the arbitrator was not valid or legal for want of propriety, hence lacked jurisdiction to hear the dispute.
He wants the decision to award the claimants set aside saying it is contrary to the established principles of law and justice.
Further he says the arbitrator failed to determine the substance of the dispute and arrived at a wrong decision.
Justice Osewe will determine the commercial dispute on 30 November 2016