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State barred from freezing KHRC account

KENYA
By Kamau Muthoni | December 1st 2015

The High Court has temporary stopped the State from de-registering or freezing the accounts of the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC).

High Court Judge George Odunga issued the orders after KHRC, under a certificate of urgency, protested the decision by the Non-Governmental Organisation Co-ordination Board to freeze its accounts over an alleged Sh1.2 billion in unaccounted for funds.

The board also wanted to de-register the organisation on account of failing to follow laws governing lobby groups in the country.

The legal battle between KHRC and the co-ordination board started over donor funds, with the latter claiming that colossal amounts were being held in various accounts and were not accounted for by human rights groups.

"A temporally order is hereby issued restraining the respondent, its employees, servants or agents from de-registering the petitioner, ordering the freezing of its bank accounts by the Central Bank of Kenya and ordering investigations by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations pending the inter parties hearing," Justice Odunga ordered.

The Makau Mutua-led human rights group, through its lawyer, Nzamba Kitonga, told the court that it was not given an opportunity to defend itself or issue a response to the allegations against it.

The NGO's board sent a press release indicating that the organisation, and two others; the African Population and Health Research Centre and the African Development Solutions (Adeso), had been under quoting their income from the donors in their annual reports.

KHRC was accused of allegedly running four illegal bank accounts. "The petitioner had no prior notice, and was not given an opportunity to be heard," Mr Kitonga argued.

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