Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has dismissed the move by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko to nominate a deputy, terming it illegal.
Haji said the governor had gone against his bail terms which barred him from executing his duty as a governor until a corruption case against him is heard and determined.
"Sonko cannot purport to have the powers to name a deputy while his case is still active. His action is null and void," cautioned Haji.
He said they will move to court over the same, saying the court must see to it that the bail terms are respected.
Speaking to Standard Digital on phone, City lawyer Steve Ogolla concurred with the DPP saying Sonko has got no legal backing to appoint a deputy, going by Justice Mumbi Ngugi's ruling.
“Sonko cannot lawfully appoint Deputy Governor during the pendency of his corruption charges. Justice Mumbi Ngugi's ruling, read in its entirety, effectively means Sonko cannot lawfully perform county functions, including appointing a Deputy,” he said.
However, Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen differed with Ogolla and Haji saying Sonko had not violated his bail terms by appointing a deputy.
“Going by our earlier interpretation of the Court of Appeal decision, Governor Sonko has not violated his bail terms by appointing a Deputy Governor. In any case there is no connection between appointments and protection of evidence relating to DPP’s case,” he wrote on Twitter.
Sonko in a statement on Monday, nominated Anne Mwenda as a Deputy Governor and urged the County Assembly to vet her for formal appointment.
"Given the foregoing, and in the interest of ensuring stability Nairobi and the largest County by economy and population, I do hereby nominate Anne Kananu Mwenda to the position of Deputy Governor,” read the letter.
The governor said the move was in line with article 180(5) of the Constitution and the Supreme Court Advisory of March 2018.
He urged the Assembly to expedite Mwenda’s vetting process for purposes of appointment as per the provision of County Government Act.
Sonko had said he will continue to abide by his bail terms in a case he is accused of misusing public resources.
“As a law abiding citizen, I will continue to abide by the bail terms granted to me and ensure the operations of the county are not affected in anyway,” he said.
Tough bail terms
Anti-corruption Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti had last December slapped the governor with tough conditions after releasing him on a cash bail of Sh15 million.
He ordered that Sonko be barred from accessing his office as a governor and if need be, he be escorted by investigationg officers to collect his belongings.
“I order that the first accused (Sonko) be barred from accessing his office as the governor and if need be, he can only be escorted by the investigating officer to collect his belongings from the office,” ruled Mr Ogoti.
While relying on High Court decisions, which barred both Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu and his Samburu counterpart Moses Lenolkulal from holding office after being charged with corruption offences, the magistrate said it is was the public interest that Sonko be barred from accessing his office.