A Nairobi court has awarded former National Bank of Kenya (NBK) managing director Munir Sheikh Ahmed Sh26.5 million in compensation for being unfairly dismissed four years ago.


The Employment and Labour Relations Court ruled that NBK failed to prove its allegations of gross misconduct and misrepresentation of financial statements against Munir, which led to his removal in 2016.


Munir was sacked in April 2016, 16 months before his five-year term was officially to end, with allegations made that the bank he headed was cooking its books to hide its true status.


The former MD then sued NBK for unfair discharge on grounds that the publication of his sacking by the troubled bank destroyed his reputation.


Judge Byram Ongaya agreed with his assertion:


“The court considers that it is unfair labour practice for an employer, without good cause or reason, to publicise and publish adverse material about its employee in view of the contract of service and its execution as it was done in the present case, and, such publication, in the court’s opinion, amounts to unfair labour practice.”


However, the court refused to award him damages for his agony after being sacked.


In documents submitted in court, Munir had defended his reputation and experience of more than 20 years and his eventual competitive recruitment to the post of NBK MD in 2012.


He said his stellar performance at the bank earned him good reviews and a pay hike from the board and that his troubles started after Deloitte released an audit report claiming financial misrepresentation.


In a show cause letter, NBK told Munir it was considering dismissing him for gross misconduct for reportedly posting incorrect financial results and gave him only two hours to respond.


He was then sent on compulsory leave as disciplinary process was being processed and the decision publicised in the media, even as he insisted he had conducted all due diligence.  


Munir told the court he felt humiliated after he was arrested at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport together with his family while en route to Dubai for a holiday.


The court rejected his demand for Sh453.4 million in compensation and settled on Sh26.5 million.