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Court of Appeal upholds ruling barring Waititu, Sonko from office

By Jael Mboga | December 20th 2019

Justice Mumbi Ngugi.

The Court of Appeal has upheld High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi's ruling on suspension of governors facing graft charges.

The three-judge bench sitting in Milimani on Friday ruled that elected executives cannot continue attending office when facing corruption-related charges.

Court upheld DPP Noordin Haji's application that Governors Moses Lenolkulal (Samburu) and Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) remain out of office during the trial of their corruption cases.

Justice Jamila Mohammed read the judgement on behalf of Judges David Musinga, Steven Gatembu and Agnes Murgor.

On July 24, High Court Judge Mumbi Ngugi ruled that governors facing corruption charges should step aside until their cases are concluded.

“What message does it send to the citizens if their leaders are charged with serious corruption offences and are in office the following day, overseeing the affairs of the institution?” she said.

Sitting in Milimani on Friday, Court of Appeal judge Jamila Mohamed said there are incidents where vital documents were lost after officers charged with economic crimes were allowed access.

Governors Lenolkulal, Waititu and Mike Sonko (Nairobi) had sought the Appellate court's reprieve to gain access to their offices.

The Ngugi ruling targeted governors facing corruption charges, who are now forced to fight off prosecution’s push to have them barred from accessing their offices during the trial.

Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong’, who is fighting graft charges, and Migori’s Okoth Obado, who is set to stand trial on murder claims, could find themselves also warding off similar stringent conditions.

The anti-graft agency has also opened investigations in multiple counties, including Tharaka/Nithi, Garissa, Siaya, Turkana, Marsabit, Kitui, Murang’a, Homa Bay, Migori, Wajir, Nairobi, Machakos and Nandi.

DPP Noordin Haji and EACC boss Twalib Mbarak praised Justice Mumbi Ngugi’s landmark decision locking out Lenolkulal from his office, saying they would not relent in pushing for the condition to apply to all constitutional office holders whenever they are prosecuted.

Haji insists that any officer charged must step aside, as Kenyans envisioned to have leaders who observe Chapter Six of the Constitution on leadership and integrity and Articles 1 of the Constitution.

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