Petitioner forced to apologise over 'busybody' remarks as motion to impeach service board begins

The County Assembly Public Service and Administration Committee under the chairmanship of Marama South Ward Rep Willis Opuka conducting impeachment proceedings against the Kakamega County Public Service Board. [Nathan Ochunge, Standard]

The hearing of a petition to remove the Kakamega County Public Service Board (CPSB) from office turned ugly as parties clashed.

At one point, Dennis Muhanda, the petitioner who wants the board out was forced to apologise to the board’s advocates after referring to them as ‘busybodies’ to delay the impeachment process.

“The work of advocates and lawyers is based on 'good image' and any allegations against them taints them. We direct the petitioner to make a personal apology to the respondent’s lawyers," ordered Walunya Indimuli.

Walunya who is a member of the Assembly committee, said the lawyers of the embattled board were to assist the committee in reaching a desirable decision.

“I am equally very sorry for the remarks I made. Let it be on record that I withdraw the remarks I made here on the floor of the house,” said Muhanda in his apology.

The County Assembly Public Service and Administration Committee under the chairmanship of Marama South Ward Rep Willis Opuka is conducting the impeachment proceedings.

The petition was filed by Muhanda, the Kakamega UDA chairman on October 12.

The board members include Catherine Omweno (chairperson), Ambrose Subayi (vice-chairperson), Joel Omukoko, Dr Ralph Wangatiah, Stanley Were, and Sylvia Otunga.

They have been accused of illegally sacking Catherine Gathoni from her position as the board's chief executive officer.

The board is also battling claims of serious violation of the Constitution, violation of Chapter 6 of the Constitution, breach of statute law, abuse of office, gross misconduct, conflict of interest, and incompetence.

Additionally, they have been accused of employing people with questionable academic qualifications and hiring 400 revenue clerks and 74 revenue officers without the approval of the cabinet. 

When the petitioner took to the witness stand to prosecute his case, Calistus Shifwoka and Glen Odini, the lead counsels for the board, objected to the evidence that was being adduced saying it was obtained illegally.

“The petitioner is not the maker of the documents being adduced since they are government documents. They do not comply with provisions of sections 79 and 80 of the Evidence Act 2014,” said Shifwoka

Shifwoka said that the production of the documents ‘is not within the constraints’ of the law.

“Public documents can only be admissible subject to due process. One must make an application, pay, and have the documents certified. None of the documents before you are certified. There are no documents of request of the document by the petitioner and proof of payments,” he said.

But in a rebuttal, Marvin Odera, the petitioner’s lawyer said they had complied with the law.

“The character of the proceedings is public and the county assembly committee is exercising its power in public. Those objections are absurd and should not apply here,” said Odera.

Shifwoka objected to his assertions.

“You cannot claim that in a quasi-judicial proceeding, the Evidence Act cannot apply, as a decision similar to that of the high court. The effect of the documents being produced without the makers shall prejudice the process,” said Shifwoka

 However, the assembly committee overruled Mr Shifwoka and ordered the petitioner to give all the documents he was relying on to prosecute the case.

"The committee wishes to invoke provisions of article 159 (2) d) of the constitution so that the proceedings can proceed,” ruled Walunya.

 “Respondents shall be given time to cross-examine the petitioner in each allegation on all issues raised to help us arrive at a proper determination."

The petitioner went on to produce a bundle of 80 exhibits which he said ‘was a big dossier’ to hand them (board) over to the ‘guillotine’.

Today will be the respondent’s day to take to the witness stand.

By AFP 11 hrs ago
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