In a recent development, the Labour Court has suggested that AAR Hospital engage in out-of-court discussions with its departing Group CEO, Steve Okeyo. Mr. Okeyo, who served as the Group CEO of Hospital Holdings Investment (HHI) until December 8, is seeking an amicable solution after challenging his redundancy notice.

Until his departure, Mr. Okeyo was not only at the helm of AAR Hospital but also held a board position in all five subsidiaries of HHI. HHI, overseeing healthcare entities in Kenya and Uganda, boasts high-profile investors, including the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) and European sovereign funds such as French Proparco, SwedFund, FinnFund, and Denmark’s IFU.

Justice Jacob Gakeri has encouraged both parties to embrace court-annexed mediation and to resolve the matter in good faith and the best interests of everyone involved. Mr. Okeyo, who contested his redundancy, argued that the process lacked transparency and did not specify the criteria or other affected roles.

His advocate, Morara Omoke, requested the court to consider an injunction on the redundancy notice, emphasizing that negotiating in good faith would be futile if Mr. Okeyo were already declared redundant. HHI countered this, expressing concern that retaining Mr. Okeyo could hinder the restructuring process it was undergoing.

Details of Mr. Okeyo’s disagreement with the board, particularly regarding the strategic direction of the new AAR Hospital on Kiambu Road, have emerged in court filings. Construction of the facility, commissioned by President William Ruto in February 2023, was overseen by employees from the lead investor, Holland’s International Fund for Health in Africa (IFHA).

Mr. Okeyo, hired by HHI on June 1, 2021, with the task of managing the new facility and stabilizing other businesses for growth, will have the matter mentioned in court on December 20, 2023.

In a recent ruling, Justice Gakeri acknowledged HHI’s decision to part ways with Mr. Okeyo and recommended an out-of-court resolution as the most appropriate mechanism. He noted that such an approach is expeditious, efficient, cost-effective, less acrimonious, and, significantly, private.

Both parties, through their advocates, have agreed to proceed with court-annexed mediation, indicating a willingness to find a resolution outside the courtroom.

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