By ISAIAH LUCHELI
A three-judge bench nullified Matemu’s appointment and said President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Parliament ignored concerns raised about Matemu’s suitability for the office. The bench appointed by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga said said the Executive and MPs failed to investigate Matemu’s integrity and competence and opted for political expediency to push his name through.
Justices Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, and Mumbi Ngugi stated there was no doubt allegations raised against Matemu were serious and would prejudice any reasonable person’s thinking regarding his integrity or suitability to head the commission.
The judges noted despite Matemu’s appointment having been passed by Parliament, no evidence was ever was tabled to indicate what investigations, if any had been done to clear him of the serious allegations that would have seen him take office with a cloud hanging over his head.
“There was no adequate explanation why the allegations against Matemu were brushed aside in Parliament. Finally there was no attempt to craft a test which would enable the MPs determine if Matemu had passed the constitutional test under Chapter Six of the Constitution (on Leadership and Integrity),” said Justice Ngugi.
The judges also noted that Matemu appeared before a Parliamentary Committee that rejected his name, without first adducing evidence or investigating the allegations of lack of integrity made against him.
The judge added evidence adduced in court included a letter by a Criminal Investigations Department (CID) officer who wrote to his director stating his opinion that there was substance in some of the allegations against Matemu, and urged him to dedicate more resources, including experts in forensic science, auditing and computer analysis to the case.
“This information was presented to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). It is not clear whether the President and the Prime Minister in picking Matemu out of the three names submitted to them gave any consideration to this information,” read the ruling.
Mumbi explained that the right procedure for appointing anyone to a State or Public Office included weighing the qualifications and attributes of nominees or candidates against the constitutional test as contained in Chapter Six.
“Consequently, it is not possible to turn a verdict that due procedure in an appointment or nomination to a State office has been followed when there is absolutely no evidence that the appointing authority considered the constitutional test,” said the judge.