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EACC to decide if Governor Lenolkulal can access his office, court rules

RIFT VALLEY
By Roselyne Obala and Kamau Muthoni | July 25th 2019

Samburu Governor Moses Kasaine Lenolkulal was yesterday barred from going to his office until a graft case lodged against him is determined.

In what is a major blow to the county chief, the conditions set in his bail review application means he will not step foot or go near his county office nor meet county employees who are set to testify against him.

Anti-Corruption High Court left Lenolkulal at the mercies of the Ethic and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak who will either grant him permission or decline to allow him access the county government offices.

The judge ordered that Lenolkulal can only access his office with prior written permission from Mbarak, who in turn has to ensure he does not see or interact with intended witnesses or access evidence to be used against him.

While rejecting the governor’s plea, Justice Mumbi Ngugi said there will be no void in the county as his deputy can equally carry out his tasks.

“I believe there will be no vacuum in the county. I take judicial note of the fact that there have been circumstances in the past in which county governors have, for reasons of ill health, been out of office, and given the fact that the Constitution provides for the seat of deputy governor, the counties have continued to function,” Justice Ngugi observed.

According to the judge, Lenolkulal had exhibited “moral ill-health’’ which required his access to the county offices to be limited by the court.

“In this case, the governor is charged with a criminal offence. He has been accused of being in “moral ill-health,’’ if one may term it so,” said Justice Mumbi.

In the case, the governor argued that he was aggrieved by orders from the magistrate’s court which had set the strict conditions for him.

According Lenolkulal, the court unlawfully denied Samburu residents services from their elected governor.

“The said order is illegal and unconstitutional as it amounts to the removal or suspension of the governor from office in a manner contrary to provisions in law,” argued Lenolkulal’s lawyer Paul Nyamodi.

Mr Nyamodi said it would be impractical for him to seek permission from Mbarak on a daily basis to discharge his duties.

“The import of this will be EACC will be seen to be controlling the affairs of the office of the duly-elected governor,” he added.

Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti had slapped Lenolkulal with Sh100 million cash bail alongside 13 other county officials. The High Court later reduced the bail to Sh10 million.

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