Defunct East African Airways staff go to top court for Sh600bn claim

The Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG Kenya is not yet out of the hook in demand for payment by former employees of the defunct East African Airways Corporation (EAAC) who claim they did not get all their dues.

The about 3,000 ageing former staff have taken their fight for Sh600 billion, which includes interest, to the Supreme Court, even as they await for the Attorney-General to comply with a directive that the names of those who had been paid be made public.

Though they lost the claim before the High Court and Court of Appeal, they are still optimistic and maintain that they should be paid Sh306,367,840,391 from Provident Fund and Sh302,666,559,163 redundancy payments, which they claim they have been owed since the corporation collapsed in 1977. They say their counterparts in Tanzania and Uganda were paid their dues.

They have sued the ministries of Finance, Transport, the Registrar General, Attorney-General and affiliates of Barclays Bank who included Barclays Bank International Ltd, Barclays Bank Trust Company Ltd, Barclaytrust Channel Islands Ltd, Barclaytrust International Ltd, and Barclays Bank Kenya Ltd.

The bank, however, argues in the Supreme Court papers that there is no legal basis to claim monies from its affiliates when it is acknowledged that the monies arising from the provident fund were paid to the Official Receiver in 1977.

“The Petitioners failed to prove their claim in the High Court and Court of Appeal. Their claim if successful would amount to unjust enrichment as we do not hold any funds payable to them and any monies held by the trustee were remitted to the liquidator,” the bank said in court papers.

Further, it argues that a separate court had already determined that the East African Community Mediation Agreement Act of 1984 had factored their pensions and provident entitlements.

The Mediation Agreement specifically addressed the precise amount that was received from the Crown Agents and disbursed to the three East African States at the time, being Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

The High Court and Court of Appeal had directed the Attorney- General to publish the total amount of money meant for former EAAC employees which is still lying in the bank.

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