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Ex-Equity staff lose in higher benefits push – Business Daily

Equity Bank branch on Muindi Mbingu Street in Nairobi on Thursday, April 1, 2021. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG
The High Court has dismissed a case by former employees of Equity Bank seeking a recalculation of their benefits over claims that they were underpaid under the Equity Share Ownership Plan (ESOP).
Justice David Majanja further dismissed a plea by the former employees, seeking to be paid dividends stating that the seven were not entitled to the benefits accruing from the units they held in the ESOP after they ceased employment.
The judge said having left employment before March 2009 when the share splits took effect, they cannot get related benefits.
“Similarly, I make the same findings on the plaintiffs’ fourth prayer for dividends on their respective units and reiterate that none accrued after they ceased being employees of the Bank,” the judge said.
The former employees including Robert Maina, James Kaburu, Burton Mbiruiru, Robert Macharia said they were entitled to a refund of monies paid to the unit-holders who ceased being employees before expiry of five years after joining the ESOP.
They argued that after leaving service, they found out that the amount they ought to have been refunded was concealed as a result of misrepresentation or non-disclosure of facts.
They accused the trustees of undervaluing their entitlements from the ESOP as a result of not following the provisions of the unit value, upon redemption as defined in the Trust Deed.
The trustees denied claims of breach, adding that any benefits under the ESOP only existed to the extent that there was an existing employment relationship between the unitholders and the bank.
The court heard that any benefits and entitlements that flowed from a person being a unitholder including dividends and bonuses only accrued during the subsistence of the unitholder’s employment with the bank.
The judge agreed the Trustees had an obligation not only to refund them the monies used to purchase the units and the former employees failed to demonstrate that the trustees were still holding on to some of their units.
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