28 November 2012

Kenya: Court Blocks New Selection of EACC Boss

The Court of Appeal has blocked the government from filling the position of Chairman of the Ethics and Anticorruption Commission (EACC) pending an appeal by Mumo Matemu, whose appointment was blocked by the High Court.

Appellate judges Erastus Githinji, David Maraga and Wanjiru Karanja stopped the government from appointing the chairperson until January when the court is expected to finalise the appeal.

Matemu moved to the appellate court under a certificate of urgency through lawyer Waweru Gatonye, accusing the High Court of wrongly finding that the Executive and the Legislature had failed to execute their mandate in appointing him to head the anti-graft body.

Matemu has further accused the High Court of failing to respect the doctrine the Separation of Powers between arms of government.

In September, the High Court in Nakuru nullified Matemu's appointment as chairman of the EACC following an application by the Trusted Society of Human Rights Alliance.

Justices Joel Ngugi, Mumbi Ngugi, and George Odunga ruled that Parliament and the Executive had overlooked issues raised about Matemu's integrity while he worked at the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC).

Matemu is alleged to have been involved in impropriety when he worked for AFC.

The judges stated that the High Court was out to protect and uphold the Constitution which calls for high integrity of public officers.

The judges pointed out that there was no evidence to show that there was a probe to clear Matemu of allegations of wrongdoing.

The High Court ruled that proper procedure could not be deemed to have been duly followed if it was apparent that the appointment process was carried out in a manner devoid of a proper inquiry into pertinent issues related to the qualification of Matemu.

The human rights group had argued that the end result could not be justified by the fact that due process preceded Matemu's appointment.

Matemu has however maintained that the process leading to his appointment was guided by the provisions of the Constitution.

He has insisted that the process was open to public participation and the rights group had the opportunity to take any petition or complaint to the relevant teams involved in the selection process.

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