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Teachers’ 18-year wait for pension drags on

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Retired teachers address journalists following a Supreme Court ruling on their unpaid pension. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH
Retired teachers address journalists following a Supreme Court ruling on their unpaid pension. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH 

A case by 52,000 retired teachers in pursuit of Sh43 billion in salaries and pensions arrears will have to wait longer after the case was pushed to 2019.

Judge Janet Mulwa, sitting in the Nakuru High Court, directed that the matter be heard on January 17, 2019 when it was mentioned Wednesday.

The teachers, who have been chasing the money for more than 18 years, have been at loggerheads with the pensions office — which they blame for the delayed payment.

Through their lawyer Dominic Kimata, the retirees accuse the Director of Pensions Shem Nyakutu of frustrating the payment after he disobeyed court orders to do so.

They have an application pending before the court in which they are seeking to have Mr Nyakutu punished for contempt of court.

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The court had on August 1 directed Mr Nyakutu to file a comprehensive report showing the status update on the payment of the cash.

Justice Mulwa also ordered the pensions director to disclose the amount of money his office had received from the government towards payment of claims, as well as file vouchers of every retiree said to have been paid.

The information is, however, yet to be known close to four months since the orders were issued after the hearing was adjourned four times for different reasons.

In 2005, the retirees successfully petitioned the court to declare that they were entitled to retirement benefits provided for in the 1997 agreement, which they had signed with the Teachers Service Commission.

Chief Justice David Maraga, then High Court judge in Nakuru, on October 23, 2008 ordered TSC to process pensions based on the salary award in the 1997 agreement.

Subsequent appeals by the commission and the Attorney-General against the judgment in higher courts were unsuccessful after the Supreme Court in 2008 reaffirmed the ruling.

However, the teachers moved back to court complaining that that the TSC had refused to pay the money.

The TSC however, distanced itself from the claims and said it had processed the claims and deposited them at the pensions office for payment.

The National Assembly, in its 2016/17 supplementary budget, had allocated Sh1.6 million towards the resettlement of the retired teachers’ dues.

The court was however informed that only 1,623 former teachers have so far been paid the money.

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