Disgruntled ex-staff sues lender for ‘improper’ termination

A former banker manager is seeking over Sh57 million in terminal dues for alleged improper termination of employment.

Mr George Amatieku Opollo has sued Guaranty Trust Bank of Kenya Limited, formerly FINA Bank, says he was sacked for allegedly causing the lose of Sh240 million through alleged negligent lending to a private company – Khilna Enterprises Limited.

Mr Opollo says the decision to fire him was uninformed since the decision to continue lending Khilna was made by other senior management staff of the bank.

“The bank used me as a sacrificial lamb so as to save its licence from being cancelled by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) for reckless lending,” Mr Opollo says in the case filed at the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC).

He states that before he was sacked the matter of excess lending was pending at Central Bank of Kenya’s Banking Fraud Investigations Department (BFID).

He adds that the company had been identified as a principal debtor and the issue had been presented to the lender’s Management Credit Committee for discussion.

But he was not informed of the outcome.

He also adds it was resolved that he appears before the bank’s disciplinary committee over the lending and “was not allowed to attend with his advocate”.

MY DEMANDS

Prior to his sacking in October 26, 2010, Mr Opollo was heading the Thika branch and that Khilna had already been allowed an overdraft of Sh25 million.

“The excesses of Khilna were granted up to and above the exposure level exceeding Sh200 million,” Mr Opollo says in the court proceedings.

He says Khilna had been allowed by the bank’s proper officer to continue overdrawing its accounts but he had no authority to approve any excess payments to any customer except the Head of Business Support.

The claimant is asking the court to declare his sacking as wrong.

He is also asking the court to award him Sh57 million for lost years and Sh916,655,000 as service gratuity for years worked since 2007.

Additionally, he is asking the court to order the bank to pay him leave allowance.

The Thursday hearing was adjourned to allow trial judge Justice Mathew Nderi to resume duty after his annual leave.

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