1.This ruling relates to the Respondent’s preliminary objection contained in its Statement of Response dated 22nd July 2022, which seeks to have the suit struck out with costs on grounds that:a.The suit is time barred by dint of section 90 of the Employment Act.b.The Court has no jurisdiction hear the suit since Article 234 of the Constitution of Kenya and section 88 of the Public Service Commission Act confers the jurisdiction on the Public Service Commission.
2.The Preliminary Objection was disposed of by written submissions. The respondent filed on 19th October, 2022 and the claimant filed on 25th October 2022.
3.On the first ground for the objection, the respondent submitted that the cause of action arose on 6th September 2018 when the claimant was released to the Ministry. It was further urged that under prayer (a) the claimant seeks for withheld Sacco deductions from 6th September 2018 when she was released and her name removed from its payroll. It is the respondent’s contention that the three years provided under section 90 of the Employment Act within which to commence the suit lapsed on 6th September 2021. Consequently, the court was urged to find that the suit is time barred and ought to be struck out because it was filed on 27th June 2022, 8 months out of time.
4.As regards the second ground for the objection, it was submitted that this court lacks jurisdiction to hear the suit because the Public Service Commission has clear constitutional and statutory jurisdiction to hear the matter and give remedies pursuant to Article 234 920 of the Constitution and section 88(5) of the Public Service Commission Act 2017. For emphasis, reliance was placed on the case of Secretary County Public Service Board & another v Hulbhai Gedi Abdile  eKLR where the Court of Appeal in a similar matter held that it is the Public Service Commission which is clothed with the jurisdiction.
5.It was argued that suit violates the doctrine of exhaustion provided in section 9 of the Fair Administrative Action Act of 2015 and section 87(2) of the Public Service Commission Act of 2017 which filing of legal proceedings in any court with respect to matters that fall within the jurisdiction of the Commission. For emphasis, reliance was further placed on the case of Nakuru County Human Rights Network (NAHURINET) v Nakuru County Government & another  eKLR, James Tinai Murete & others v County Government of Kajiado &22 others  eKLR and Wilson Mutegi Nyaga & others v The County Public Service Board, Kitui County & 2 others  eKLR were the High Court declined jurisdiction on ground that the mechanism provided under section 77 of the County Governments Act, for an appeal to the Public Service Commission, had not been exhausted.
6.Again Nduma J in the case of Ismael Noo Onyango & another v Siaya county Public Service Board & another  eKLR declined jurisdiction but observed that this court has unlimited jurisdiction over matters employment and labour.
7.The claimant on the other hand submitted that her suit is not time barred because the cause of action arose in August 2020 when she was paid her salary arrears and also got appraised on the status of her sacco savings and extension of the period of the loan repayment. She contends that the claim for loss and damages occasioned by her removal from the respondent’s payroll on 1st August 2018 until her reinstatement in November 2019. The pecuniary loss according to her is Kshs.694,216.21 which was in the form of his Sacco contribution being utilized to repay her loan as confirmed by the letter dated 29th March 2022 from the CEO New Fortis Sacco. Therefore she maintained that she had 2020, 2021 and 2022 to file her suit, which did on 27th June 2022.
8.Further, the claimant submitted that the preliminary objection herein does not meet the legal threshold established in the case of Mukisa Biscuits manufacturing co. Ltd v West End Distributories Ltd  EA 699 where the court held that a preliminary objection must raise a pure point of law and it is raised on the assumption that all the facts pleaded by the other side are correct.
9.She also submitted that the objection raised does not serve the purposes enunciated by the Supreme Court in the case of Charles Onchari Ogoti v Safaricom limited & another  eKLR where it was held that a true preliminary objection serves two purposes, firstly to shield the objector costs in terms of time and resources; and secondly to save the scarce judicial time. In her view the instant objection does not serve any of the said purposes.
10.The issues for determination in the preliminary objection are threefold:a.Whether the preliminary objection raises a pure point of law.b.Whether the suit is time barred.c.Whether the court has no jurisdiction to hear and determine the suit.
Pure point of law
11.In the case of Mukisa Biscuits manufacturing co. Ltd v West End Distributories Ltd  EA 699 the court held that:
12.I have carefully considered the grounds for objection raised herein and I am satisfied that pure points of law have been raised. The respondent is contending that the suit is time barred and the court also lacks jurisdiction pursuant to the exhaustion doctrine. Such issues do not require evidence to establish nor is judicial discretion necessary to determine the same. Besides if the same succeeds the suit will be disposed of and save judicial time.
13.The claim herein is founded on a contract of employment between the claimant and the respondent. The suit is therefore governed by the provisions of section 90 of the Employment Act which states that: -
14.The question that arises is, what is the meaning of a cause of action and when does it arise. In Letang v Cooper  2 All ER 929 at 934, Lord Diplock defined cause of action as follows: -
15.Again in Drummond Jackson v Britain Medical Association  2 WLR 688, Pearson J defined a cause of action as follow: -
16.As regards when a cause of action arises, Halsbury’s Laws (4th Edition) Vol 28 paragraph 662 (page 298) states that: -
17.In this case the claimant has pleaded the following in her Memorandum of claim:
18.In addition she claims Kshs.1,385,716.21 made up of 15 monthly instalments of Kshs.46,100 towards the sacco loan which was not paid due to the failure by the respondent to pay her salary, accumulated loan interest caused by the withholding of her salary and lost dividends after her shares in New Fortis Sacco were forfeited to settling her Sacco Loan. (See Paragraph 10, 11 & 12 of the Memorandum of Claim).
19.Having considered the above cited judicial precedents on the definition of a cause of action and the facts of this case, I would say that the cause of action herein arose on 6th September 2018 when the claimant was removed from the respondent’s payroll. It means that her right to sue accrued from that day and because the injury complained of was continuous in nature, the right to sue continued until 12 months from the day when the injury ceased by dint of section 90 of the Employment Act. The suit was filed on 27th June 2022, 22 months from the date when the injury complained of ceased. Consequently, the court agrees with the respondent that the suit is time barred and for that reason the court lacks jurisdiction to determine it.
Jurisdiction vs exhaustion doctrine
20.The Respondent contends that this court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the suit because the internal appeal mechanism has not been exhausted. Article 234 of the Constitution, section 87 (2) and 88 of the Public Service Commission Act and Section 9(2) of the Fair Administrative Actions Act were cited as the basis for the objection. The Claimant did not make any submissions on the provisions cited by the Respondent.
21.It is obvious that Article 234 of the Constitution of Kenya provides that the Public Service Commission shall have jurisdiction to hear appeals from decisions made by a County Public Service Board. In order to give effect to the foregoing provision, the Parliament enacted section 77(1) of the County Government Act, 2012 as follows;
22.The use of the word “May”, in my view suggests an option to be exercised by the affected or dissatisfied person. However, the enactment of the Public Service Commission Act in 2017, the position seems to have taken a drastic change. Section 85 of the Act provides that;
23.The appealable matters are then set out under Regulation 8 of the Public Service Commission (County Government Services Appeals Procedure) Regulations, thus:-
25.The dispute herein springs from the claimants’ engagement in the respondent’ County Public Service. The dispute was initially determined by the Public Service Commission vide the letter dated 13th February 2019. The respondent complied with the decision by the Public Service Commission by reinstating the claimants and paying her all her salary arrears.
26.The claimant is now seeking compensation arising from her removal from the respondent’s pay roll and delay in processing her salary after the reinstatement as aforestated. The compensation being sought in my view does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Commission. They are damages which require the exercise of discretion by the court. Consequently, I find that the second limb of the preliminary objection lacks merit and is rejected.
27.Having already found that the suit is time barred, I must allow the preliminary objection with no costs.