AUKO FREED OF PROBE.

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Auditor General Edward Ouko.

 

BY SAM ALFAN.

High court set aside proceedings conducted against Auditor General Edward Ouko says the conduct by the finance department failed to meet the threshold of fair administrative action.

“I declare that the proceedings by the said departmental committee on finance ,planning and trade against Edward Auko failed to meet the threshold of fair administrative action” ruled Odunga.

However the court declined to quash the decision by the speaker of the National Assembly and departmental Commitee on Finance and trade to probe Ouko.

According to judge Odunga, “the right to cross examine a person is important as that of a right to a fair hearing,”.

” I declare that the departmental committee on finance ,planning and trade is bound to conduct it proceedings in strict compliance to Article 47 of the constitution and provisions of the fair administrative Act particularly section 4″ Declared Odunga J.

He added that where a constitutional body has made a mistake the court has a constitutional mandate to bring it back to track.

However, the court gave the parliamentary committee the green light to probe the Auditor general afresh but to do so within the confines of the law.

March 13 this year, high court restrained National Assembly from proceeding with the debate seeking the removal of auditor general Edward Ouko pending hearing hearing and determination of the case challenging decision to aust the auditor general.

“That in the meantime conservatory orders are hereby restraining the committee of the National Assembly seized of the petition filed against interested party herein-Edward Auko from further proceeding with that petition pending hearing and determination of this petition ” Judge ordered.

In the case the speaker of National Assembly Justin Muturi has also been barred from forwarding any resolution of the National Assembly to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“That for avoidance of doubt the respondents(National Assembly and Attorney General) should not act on any recommendations made by responsible Committee of Parliament namely, the Finance Planning and Trade Committee of the National Assembly, until the court determines the petition before it” Court further ordered Parliament.

Activist Okiya Omutata filed a suit saying that the process of removing Auditor General from office removal is unlawful and unfair as it denies him fair administrative action and access to information.

High Court judge George Odunga had declined to block the parliamentary committee from investigating Ouko and sent the file to Mwita.

At the same time Ouko filed a suit seeking to quash the decision of the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi and House Clerk Michael Sialai to commit a petition seeking his removal before a parliamentary departmental committee.

Through his lawyer, Otiende Amollo, the auditor General Edward Ouko wants the court to bar National Assembly from debating ouster petition lodged by Nairobi Lawyer Emmanuel Mwagonah over alleged abuse of office.

“The committee failed to give the applicant prior notice of when and where the accuser would appear, “he argues He further says that given the malicious nature, the unprecedented fast tracking and the unfair manner that the process was undertaken he is apprehensive that the process will irreparably violate his fundamental rights and freedoms as guaranteed under the constitution. “It is of utmost suspicion on how the petition to remove the applicant was fast tracked,” part of  the petition said.

Ouko argued that parliament in admitting and committing the petition to the Departmental Committee on Finance, planning and Trade for hearing, fundamentally flouted procedural fairness.

He saif that he was compelled to face allegations by an accuser even when there were no supporting documents. Other orders that the embattled auditor general is seeking is a declaration that the process of removing him from office is unlawful.

Auditor-General Edward Ouko appeared before a parliamentary committee to challenge a petition seeking his removal from office. In the petition before parliament Emmanuel Mwagambo Mwagonah has accused Ouko of wasting public funds by accumulating a 1 million Shillings phone bill on his iPad while he was abroad.

He claimed Ouko frequently travelled out of the country for private reasons and has been managing the office remotely, resulting in high telephone and Internet costs.

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