Court deals heavy blow to governors facing graft cases
SEE ALSO :Uhuru: Odek was a gifted legal mindUndoubtedly, the decision send shock-waves among the governors club and one wing of Jubilee party, but was hailed by the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and civil society groups. At Temple Point hotel in Watamu, Kilifi County, where he was opening a conference on tackling violent extremism, DPP Noordin Haji was over the moon, describing it a victory and warning that more heads will roll “It’s a landmark decision which will aid in guarding the country from runway impunity. A lot of people were blaming us, saying we were overstretching our mandate in the interpretation of the Constitution. We are happy the court’s have confirmed this,” he said. Full force LSK President Allen Gichuhi said they were happy with the Court of Appeal decision as the courts have now come out in full force to implement Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity.
SEE ALSO :Race to replace Kisumu speaker kicks off“It is not that we don’t have adequate laws to fight corruption, our problem has been implementation. I am happy the Judiciary has taken a positive step in instilling integrity, and I am optimistic that even the Supreme Court will do the same if they appeal,” said Gichuhi. The International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC), the group that unsuccessfully tried to stop President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 2013 ticket on integrity grounds, described the ruling as the best momentum in ending impunity and corruption in Kenya. “Any state officer charged in court lacks character and integrity and must fully understand that the conduct of state officers in private and public is very central in determining whether they have the required integrity and suitability to hold office,” said ICPC Director Ndung’u Wainaina. But it was not all praise. Senate Legal Affairs and Human rights committee chair Senator Samson Cherargei faulted the decision, saying it set dangerous precedence as it relates to presumption of innocence. “The fulcrum of the Judiciary is usurped by the Executive which is stamping its authority. The attacks against the Judiciary by the Executive have instilled morbid fear and the Appellate court ruling was to please the government,” claimed the senator.
SEE ALSO :Kisumu Speaker in new bid to save jobHe accused the court of failing to give clear distinction between absence of governor from office and vacancy in the office, and that it is devolution which is under attack from the Judiciary, rogue MCAs, National Treasury and the Executive. In their decision, the judges said it will be wrong to allow the governors to set foot in the same offices they are accused of committing the crimes and interact with the same witnesses who are their juniors and scheduled to testify against them. “It was not farfetched to conclude they will interfere with witnesses and evidence if not barred from offices. There are documented evidence of disappearance of exhibits and witnesses during the pendency of a case,” they ruled in the decision read on their behalf by Justice Mohammed. Whereas the decisions came as a shock to both Waititu and Lenolkulal with their lawyers contemplating whether to move to the Supreme Court, senior State prosecutor Alexander Muteti immediately hailed the judgement. Great day
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