CIC’s logic on Integrity Act ‘wrong’
| Dec 6th 2013 | 2 min read
By WILFRED AYAGA
The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) has been taken to court regarding its interpretation of the Leadership and Integrity Act.
Kenya Tea Development Agency Holdings has sued CIC, arguing that an interpretation offered by the commission regarding the eligibility of some of its directors to run for office has contributed to sharp differences among the stakeholders of the company.
Through lawyer Kibicho Mwangi, KTDA Holdings says that a letter written to the company by CIC had advised that since some of the directors are already serving as State or pubic officers, they cannot run for directorship as such an action would amount to engaging in gainful employment.
“The CIC in its letter dated April 15 concluded that State officers and public officers are barred by Article 77 of the Constitution from assuming the positions of directors of the said factories since this amounted to gainful employment,” Kibicho said.
Some of the current directors seeking re-election to office are serving as public college lecturers, principals and provincial administrators.
The company claims that an alternative opinion offered by its lawyers contradicts the CIC position.
It says that its lawyers had differed with CIC that holding the directorship of a company was in contravention of the Leadership and Integrity Act.
“The petitioner is therefore seized of two conflicting interpretations of the Constitution,” the petition states.
The lawyer said that should the matter not be resolved, it is likely to interfere with the nomination of various people to elective positions in the company.
“In the run up to the impending elections of directors of both the petitioner and its shareholder companies and the tea factories it manages, there has emerged sharp differences relating to the eligibility of a number of current directors who are state officers or public servants,” the petition states.
The petitioner wants a declaration of the court as to whether a directorship in a public company is deemed as gainful employment.
The company argues that as a result of the contrasting opinions offered by CIC and the external lawyers, the rights of various stakeholders are in jeopardy. “The petitioner is faced with a situation where the rights of its stakeholders are threatened irrespective of what legal interpretation they adopt,” Kibicho told the court.
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