Electoral commission chairman Wafula Chebukati risks being jailed for disobeying a court order to reinstate embattled chief executive officer Ezra Chiloba.
Justice Stephen Radido has summoned Mr Chebukati and commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu to appear in court within 30 days.
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“The court issues a 30 day notice to Chebukati, Guliye and Molu who purport to constitute the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to personally attend court to show cause why contempt of court proceedings should not be commenced against them,” ruled Radido.
On June 14, Justice Radido ruled that Chebukati did not follow the right procedure when he sent Chiloba on a three month compulsory leave on April 6 and ordered that the CEO be allowed back to work.
The Judge further restrained Chebukati or any member of the commission from interfering, stopping or blocking Chiloba from resuming office or doing anything that would hinder him from carrying out his duties.
However, before Chiloba could resume office, Chebukati issued another memo the same day suspending him for a further three months.
Chiloba then filed another suit for contempt seeking the jailing of the chairman and the two commissioners for six months for refusing to allow him resume office.
His lawyer, Andrew Wandabwa argued that Chiloba stood to suffer immeasurable prejudice and irreversible violation of his constitutional rights unless the court intervenes not only to protect him but also to ensure court processes and orders were not in vain.
Opposing the application for contempt, Chebukati argued that he did not disobey the court order.
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According to the chairman, the judge had not stopped the commission from sending Chiloba on another compulsory leave.
“Since he is the CEO and various issues have emerged surrounding key procurement in last year’s election, we found it necessary to suspend him pending completion of investigations,” said Chebukati.
He said the investigations included inflation of costs above contract price, lack of documentation for contract details, extension of contract beyond required time and payments for goods and services not required during the repeat presidential election.