Court terms new police PAS position against law

Dr Magare Gikenyi, a trauma surgeon who challenged the appointment of Bernice Silaal Lemedeket as PAS. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has quashed President William Ruto's appointment of Bernice Silaal Lemedeket as Principal Administrative Secretary and accounting officer of the National Police Service.

Justice Byram Ongaya termed the appointment as unconstitutional, invalid, null and void on Tuesday.

He further quashed a Gazette Notice on the appointment of Lemedeket.

The orders followed a suit filed by Nakuru surgeon Dr Magare Gikenyi who challenged the appointment. Dr Gikenyi had named the Attorney General, the Public Service Commission and the National Assembly as respondents in the case. He also named Lemedeket, the Law Society of Kenya and Fredrick Bikeri as interested parties.

He noted that President Ruto did not initiate public participation in the creation of the office adding the position did not exist in the Constitution.

He said the PAS office was a waste of public resources since Lemedeket would be the accounting officer, work supposed to be performed by the Principal Secretary.

Lemedeket's role according to the doctor will be similar to PS hence duplication of roles, burdening the already blotted civil service, and depleting scarce financial resources. He noted that there was no evidence that the PSs have been overwhelmed to require the assistance of the Principal Administrative Secretary.

But the AG refuted claims, saying the office of the Principal Administrative Secretary/accounting officer, the National Police Service was lawfully established and competitively filled by the National Police Service Commission.

The AG noted that the appointment was made by the commission and not the President adding that he (President) only declared public the appointment.

Further, the AG said the appointment of Lemedeket was drawn from a list of candidates shortlisted and interviewed for the position of PSs by the public service in accordance with prudent principle of interdependent administrative functions of government agencies.

The court also issued orders barring Lemedeket from acting in any way or manner as Principal Secretary. The establishment of the office of PAS as an accounting officer, the court noted has no legal basis.