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Man sues Charity Ngilu over Lands Ministry jobs

COUNTIES
By KURIAN MUSA | January 18th 2014
                                                       Charity Ngilu       PHOTO: COURTESY

By KURIAN MUSA

Controversy over the proposal by Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu to recruit new staff has taken a new twist after the matter was challenged in court.

Yesterday, a suit was filed challenging a letter of proposals by Mrs Ngilu to the Public Service Commission seeking appointments of new employees and deployment of the current office bearers in the ministry.

Mr Clifford Keya, the applicant, says the proposals to promote, appoint and deploy public officers of the Lands Ministry as contained in the letter dated January 10, contravenes the provisions of Article 232 of the Constitution of Kenya.

The application was certified urgent by Justice Mumbi Ngugi and she directed the matter to be heard in the presence of lawyers of both parties on Thursday next week, January 23.

Ngilu has been sued together with the PSC and the Attorney General’s office.

Keya avers that such personal proposal by the Cabinet Secretary contravenes the guiding principles of leadership and integrity as enshrined under article 73 (2) (c) of the laws of Kenya.

“The proposals if acted upon will be in contravention of articles 153 (4) and 155(2) as the accounting Officer of the ministry,” he outlined in his legal proceedings.

He says the Principal Secretary in the Lands Ministry operates under PSC and not the Cabinet Secretary. “The duty of the Principal Secretary in a Ministry is to be in charge of the day to day running of the ministry while the Cabinet Secretary is strictly to formulate policies and therefore the conduct of the first respondent is unconstitutional,” he notes.

Keya further claims that the Chief Lands Registrar who has been appointed by Ngilu has not been subjected to rigorous process of competitive recruitment.

The registrar has not being vetted by the PSC as envisaged under Section 12(2) of the Land Registration Act.

The application seeks orders pending the full hearing of the case, to stop the PSC from implementing Ngilu’s recommendations which the applicant claims are unlawful. Keya expressed fears in his application that the entire nation may be subjected to a crisis as it is now in the public domain.

A section of the letter from the Lands Ministry to Chairperson Public Service Commission Margaret Kobia reads, ‘‘Further to our meeting in your offices on 10th January 2014 where the above matter was deliberated at length I hereby present the revised proposals of the staff changes within the ministry. Please see Annex one attached.’

The letter seeks Mrs Sarah Njuhi Mwenda who is principal state counsel and proposed acting Director-Land registration to be appointed the Acting Chief Lands Registrar.

“All the officers proposed as outgoing to be deployed out of the ministry,” Ngilu wrote and copied to PS Mariamu el Maawy.

The proposals are Peter Kang’ethe Kahuho to be acting Secretary Lands, Sarah Njuhi acting Chief Lands Registrar, Jane Wanjiru acting Senior Assistant Director land registration, Gladys Mwikali acting Senior assistant Director-Land Registration, George Orwaru acting Chief Lands registration officer amongst many other changes that will affect Nairobi, Kwale, Kisumu, Laikipia, Kiambu, Nakuru, Kajiado, Thika and Mombasa.

The petitioner prays that the court declares the promotion and deployment of members of the staff of the Ministry of Land and urban Development by the Cabinet Secretary unconstitutional.

He wants the court to declare that the transfer of staff is the sole duty of the National Lands Commission.

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