Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe risks six months in jail if the Labour Court sentences him to civil jail for disobeying court orders not to transfer personnel.
Kagwe was found guilty of contempt on Thursday after he disregarded an order barring him and the Health Ministry from transferring two top bosses at the National Quality Control Laboratory (NQCL).
The court had stopped the ministry from transferring NQCL Chief Executive Officer Dr Hezekiah Chepkwony and Deputy Director Dr Pius Wanjala. However, on June 12 this year, Kagwe transferred Chepkwony to the Kenya Medical Training College and Wanjala to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.
Justice Onesmus Makau ruled that Kagwe was in contempt for ignoring the court orders. Kagwe is expected to appear in court in person or through his lawyer on July 23 for mitigation and sentencing.
Judge Makau further ruled that though he appreciated the fact that Kagwe has been highly engaged in addressing the Covid-19 situation, it was clear he deliberately violated the judgment of the court issued in January this year. Kagwe has argued the said judgment was erroneous and they had appealed it but the judge said the Court of Appeal was yet to stay or suspend his orders.
The NQCL bosses had moved to court last month to stop their transfer asking the court to commit the CS to civil jail for disobeying the orders of the court.
In response Kagwe argued the orders issued by court did not permanently shield or bar them from disciplinary action and deployment as long as they are employees of the Ministry of Health.