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Governors Challenge Court Order Blocking Besieged Colleagues from Office

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The Council of Governors (CoG) has moved to court to challenge a landmark ruling by the High Court that all county chiefs charged with graft be barred from office until their cases are heard and determined.

In a petition filed on Monday, October 6, the county bosses who are seeking protection from the harsh ruling questioned its constitutionality.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Inspector General of Police are listed as respondents in the case.

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji. /FILE

High Court Judge James Makau certified the case urgent and ordered that direction on hearing the petition be given by a panel of three judges on October 21, 2020.

The ruling to bar governors charged with graft from office was delivered by Justice Mumbi Ngugi in July last year.

In the ruling, Ngugi held that governors, just like other civil servants, should step aside once charged with criminal offences and their roles taken over by their deputies for the duration of the trial.

Justice Ngugi upheld Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti’s ruling barring Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal from accessing his office over Ksh84 million graft case.

“What message does it send to the citizens if their leaders are charged with serious corruption offences and are in office the following day, overseeing the affairs of the institution?” she posed.

The precedent-setting ruling has turned into a nightmare for besieged county bosses.

Moreover 2020 has been a nightmare year for governors following a series of arrests over graft claims, with the Director of Public Prosecutions being at the helm of almost all arrests on governors.

County bosses affected include Mike Sonko (Nairobi), Okoth Obado (Migori) and more recently Garissa Governor Ali Korane and his Tharaka Nithi counterpart Muthomi Njuki who were charged with Ksh233 million and Ksh34 million graft respectively.

Garissa County Governor Ali Korane. /THE STAR

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