Meru Governor Peter Munya. (Photo:Peter Muthomi/Standard)
The High Court Thursday threw out a petition seeking to bar Governor Peter Munya from defending his seat.
Judge Alfred Mabeya sitting in Meru said petitioner Isaiah Kithinji had failed to convince the court that there were grounds to stop Munya from participating in the August general elections on grounds of lack of integrity.
Justice Mabeya said although reports of the Auditor General had been filed in the case showing that several issues had been raised in relation to financial spending in the county, none directly implicated Munya.
The judge also faulted the petitioner for failing to follow procedure and use the institutions established to deal with questions of a leader’s integrity under the Leadership and Integrity Act, 2012.
“His first point of call ought to have been the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) in making an allegation of corruption against the governor,” said the judge.
He added that only after the EACC had failed to probe the allegations could the petitioner have asked the court to invoke its unlimited jurisdiction and intervene.
Tribunal orders ODM to reconstitute board
He also noted EACC had filed evidence showing it was probing several allegations of financial impropriety against the county government and, therefore, could not be accused of having abdicated its constitutional duty.
The judge argued that giving any other orders would be tantamount to usurping the role of the EACC.
Munya’s lawyer, Bonbegi Gesicho, holding brief for senior counsel, Okong’o Omogeni, praised the court for throwing out the petition.
“The court has rightly pointed out the public should not engage in unnecessary litigation without following the laid-down procedures to question the conduct of State officers,” said Mr Gesicho, flanked by dozens of Munya supporters outside the court.
But lawyer Kiogora Mugambi who marshal the legal team for the petitioner said they would appeal the judgement as the judge had erred by not considering whether the EACC had failed in its mandate to probe financial improprieties reported by the Auditor General.
Justice Peter Gikonyo, who read the ruling on behalf of Justice Mabeya, directed that parties get copies of proceedings and judgement upon payment of requisite fees.