Kenya: Trouble for Ex-MP Mustafa Idd Who Works With Wife at State Agency

Former Kilifi South MP Salim Mustafa Idd could be kicked out of the Coast Water Works Development Agency board over allegations of nepotism.

This is after a civil society group on Wednesday filed a case seeking for the revocation of his appointment over conflict of interest in the management of the State agency.

According to the petition filed by the Commission for Human Rights and Justice, Mr Idd, who is the current chairman of the water agency, is serving in the same board with his wife Amina Mnyazi.

The lobby group says that this arrangement breaches Section 8, 9 and 10 of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Act that deals with public appointments.

BREACHES OF LAW

Also, the petitioner says that the appointment, where the two are serving in the same board, breaches Section 19 of the Leadership and Integrity Act, Section 146 of the Companies Act, and Section 66 of the Water Act.

Through its executive director Julius Ogogoh, the civil society group says in a matter filed under a certificate of agency that the two cannot be allowed to serve on the same board due to conflict of interest.

"In the public domain, a man and his wife cannot preside over the same public and State agency with the same mandate without the real likelihood of conflict of interest," says the petitioner.

Mr Idd and Ms Mnyazi were appointed as chairman and member of the board respectively by the Ministry of Water in February 2019 to serve for a period of three years.

HUSBAND AND WIFE

But during the term of the appointment and service, the petitioner says the two contracted a marriage and are now spouses and living as husband and wife.

Mr Ogogo says in the petition that the two have failed to adhere to a requirement that every public official shall at all times take measures to avoid any conflict of interest in relation to any public engagement.

"As a consequence of the said marriage ,Mr Idd cannot, without impropriety and public trust, preside over board meetings and make impartial decisions which are above the test and leadership and integrity as there is conflict of interest between his family and the public at the board," said Mr Ogogoh.

The group now wants the court to issue an order stopping the State Corporation Advisory Committee from authorising payment of all claims of mileage of the two and any other payment pending the hearing and determination of its case.

At the same time, Mr Ogogoh wants the committee and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission ordered to commence investigations into the affairs of the board, particularly the false claims on mileage by the two and file their findings in court within two weeks.

CONSERVATORY ORDER

"Pending hearing and determination of this case, a conservatory order be issued against the respondents prohibiting them from discharging their duties at the State water agency," said Mr Ogogoh.

The activists also want Mr Idd and Ms Mnyazi to resign and refund all the sitting allowances they have been paid from public coffers while breaking the law on conflict of interest.

The two, the petitioner say, ought to have declared their relationship after being appointed to the State corporation as required by law.

"The petitioner prays that an order be issued that all allowances, stipends and salaries earned and paid to the two be refunded to the exchequer with effect from the marriage or appointment," the petition reads.

In its court papers, the civil society group is accusing the two of failing to disclose or declare their relationship hence want them to resign.

BOARD MEETINGS

In a supporting affidavit, Mr Ogogoh is also seeking temporary orders restraining the two from sitting in the board meetings until the complaint against them is heard and concluded.

Having been appointed as the chairman of the agency, the petitioner says Mr Idd became obligated to observe and uphold all tenets of good governance and code of conduct governing public bodies in relation to transparency and accountability to avoid conflict of interest in directing, management and administration of the State corporation.

"Contrary to the above expectation and being obligated to act as such, Mr Idd and Ms Mnyazi have turned the said State agency into a family enterprise as they are now married," said the petitioner.

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