By Jackson Okoth
The Co-operative Tribunal has released to the public, a calendar of its sittings outside Nairobi, as the quasi-judicial body rushes to clear matters that have been pending before it. These hearings will happen in the period between July 2019 and June 2020.
This Tribunal is a specialized court established under section 77 of the Co-operative Societies Act, Chapter 490 of the laws of Kenya. It has exclusive and unlimited geographical and pecuniary jurisdiction in co-operative disputes. Decisions of the Tribunal are appealable to the High Court within 30 days of the ruling/award.
In a notice published in the Kenya Gazette, No. 4803 and dated 23rd March 2019, the Chairman, Co-operative Tribunal B. M Kimemia notifies the general public that it will hold its sittings as follows:- Mombasa(July,2019 22nd-26th), Eldoret (August, 2019 12th-16th), Nakuru(September, 2019 9th-13th), Kisumu (October, 2019 10th—14th),Nyeri (November, 2019 11th-15th), Kakamega (December, 2019 2nd-6th), Meru ( January, 2020 13th-17th), Kisumu ( February, 2020 10th-14th), Embu( March, 2020 9th-13th), Mombasa(April, 2020 13th—17th), Kakamega (May, 2020 11th—15th) and Nyeri (June, 2020 8th-12th)
The Co-operative tribunal was first established in 1997 and domiciled in the Ministry, but opened doors to the public in 2002. In 2010 the Constitution of Kenya placed all tribunals under the Judiciary.
Tribunals are bodies established by Acts of Parliament to exercise judicial or quasi-judicial functions. They supplement ordinary courts in the administration of justice. They, however, do not have penal jurisdiction.
Tribunals, like the courts, have to respect the Bill of Rights in their decisions and not be repugnant to justice and morality or be inconsistent with the Constitution or other laws of the land. Most tribunals are subject to the supervision of the High Court.
In February this year, the Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Trade and Co-operatives, Peter Munya appointed Beatrice Kimemia as chairperson of the Co-operative tribunal.
This tribunal has jurisdiction to hear disputes among members, past members and persons claiming through members of cooperatives, past members and deceased members; or between members, past members or deceased members, and the society, its committee or any officer of the society; or between the society and any other co-operative society.
The tribunal has a total membership of eight members of the board. A chairman and deputy chairman are appointed by the Cabinet Secretary on the nomination of Judicial Service Commission.
Three persons with at least ten years’ experience in the field of cooperative management and practice are appointed to the tribunal by the Cabinet Secretary.
For purposes of hearing and determining any cause or matter, the chairman and two members of the tribunal shall form a quorum.
Provided that where for any reason either or both of the members is not present for any part of the hearing, the jurisdiction of the tribunal may be exercised by the chairman, sitting either with one such member or alone as the case maybe.
Notwithstanding any other provision of the Act, the chairman of the tribunal acting alone shall have jurisdiction to deal with temporary injunctions.
The tribunal is located at the Reinsurance plaza, 11th and 12th floor on Taifa Road, Nairobi.