A Nairobi court yesterday declined to lift orders that stopped plans to impeach Governor Mike Sonko.
Justice James Rika declined an application to lift the orders, ruling that Sonko will be prejudiced if he is impeached before his case is determined.
The judge’s decision means that any decision reached by the Nairobi City County Assembly to impeach the governor in defiance of the court order is illegal.
The assembly’s minority leader Michael Ogada last week tabled the motion to impeach the governor. Sonko moved to court on Tuesday to stop the impeachment.
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His lawyer, Harrison Kinyanjui, argued that the intended ouster motion was in violation of an earlier court order which stopped the process in February.
Kinyanjui told the court that Ogada’s motion was similar and raised same grounds as the one tabled by minority whip Peter Imwatok on February 20 but which was stopped by the Employment and Labour Relations Court.
“The assembly has at all times been aware of the existing court orders and have never attempted to have them discharged. They cannot proceed with another impeachment motion raising similar allegations when the case is still active in court,” said Kinyanjui.
He claimed that allowing the ouster motion to proceed will subject the governor to double jeopardy and deny him a fair trial.
According to the lawyer, the assembly intend to subject Sonko to questioning without evidence to support allegations raised against him and that his request to be furnished with documents they will rely on to prosecute him has not been met.
“The assembly’s speaker served him with the notice of motion to remove him from office with directions that he appears before MCA’s on Thursday but there are no documents to support the allegations which would enable him to prepare his defence,” said Kinyanjui.
Sonko in his affidavit to support the application claimed that the assembly have no power to remove him from office using unorthodox means after some MCA’s disowned their signatures appearing on the impeachment motion.
According to the governor, 62 MCAs have sworn affidavits stating that they never appended their signatures to support the impeachment motion and that allowing the motion to proceed would be sanitizing fraud and forgery.
“They are acting in violation of the assembly’s standing orders after failing to get the legal threshold required to initiate removal of a governor from office. My right to fair hearing and fair administration action will be greatly prejudiced if am impeached,” swore Sonko.
Kinyanjui argued further that the impeachment would violate Sonko’s legitimate expectation to serve the people of Nairobi who elected him for a term of five years.
Justice Rika gave the assembly seven days to file its response.