Human rights activists Okiya Omtatah at Milimani law courts.
BY SAM ALFAN.
City based human rights activists Okiya Omtatah on Wensday moved to court in support of President Kibaki that governors mentioned in the EACC graft report step aside.
Omtatah in a suit filed under a certificate of urgency in the high court said the constitution mandate is that all public officials under investigation irrespective of whether they are appointed or elected, must step aside to facilitate independent investigations.
He said the suit is about the implementation of the 2010 Constitution which followed last Thursday’s executive order which the President lamented the scope and extent of the scourge of corruption in the country.
Omtatah said investigations being undertaken are part and parcel of the due process of
establishing the guilt or otherwise of suspects and must be done in a protected environment where suspects have no capacity to tamper with evidence or intimidate their juniors.
“The petitioners aver that the requirement steps up the war on corruption and edifies public office as reserved only for those who, like Caesar’s wife, are beyond suspicion,” Omtatah said in the suit which he has filed together with Wyclife Gisebe. Respondents in the suit are the Attorney General, EACC commission and Council of Governors as the first second and third respectively.
On the day, he asked public officers, regardless of rank, who are under investigations for corruption to step aside.
“I hereby direct all officials of the national and county governments that are adversely mentioned in this report, whether you are a Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary, or Chief Executive of a state institution, to immediately step aside pending conclusion of the investigations,” he said.
But CG chairman Isaac Ruto in response said no governor will resign on account of President Uhuru’s order that public officials mentioned in corruption step aside.
Ruto dismissed the call saying the President was only making a political statement that has nothing to do with the fight against corruption.
Omtatah in his affidavit said those faulting the Head of State in the “step-aside” order to allow independent investigations are wrong.
“They miss out in their arguments the fact that gross violation of the constitution, and abuse of office or gross misconduct are among the conditions set in the document for the removal of elected leaders,” he said.
He added: “Chapter six of the constitution on leadership and integrity state what kind of conduct is expected of all public officials, including politicians. This is not about ascending to office; it is about compliance while in office.”
Omtatah said fighting corruption is an international obligation the President is responsible for under the law.
The file will be placed before judges who are in a Mombasa for a seminar for direction.
Nairobi Governor, Dr Evans Kidero, has rubbished a report by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) that linked him to the misappropriation of Sh 4.6 billion that belongs to Nairobi County.
According to the report, Kidero is accused of irregularly signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Foton East Africa worth Sh 4.6 billion and abetting irregular procurement of goods and services at the County Government of Nairobi.