Auditor General Edward Ouko
Embattled Auditor General Edward Ouko got some reprieve Monday when the High court stopped Parliament from debating his possible removal from office.
High Court judge Chacha Mwita issued the orders stopping the National Assembly’s Finance Committee from discussing a petition against Mr Ouko by lawyer Emmanuel Mwagambo until the determination of a case filed by activist Okiya Omtatah.
He also stopped the Speaker Justin Muturi and the National Assembly from adopting or discussing any recommendations made by the committee concerning the Auditor General.
“The committee is restrained from proceeding with the hearing and for avoidance of doubt, the Speaker and the National Assembly should not act on any recommendation by the committee until this court makes a finding on the issue,” ruled Chacha.
Justice Chacha gave Parliament, Attorney General Githu Muigai, Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko, the National Police Service and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission 14 days to file their responses to Mr Omtatah’s suit.
Omtatah argued the attempt to sack Mr Ouko was illegal and an attempt by Government forces to punish him for uncovering wastage of public funds.
According to the activist, there has been a campaign by senior members of the Executive and the Legislature to harass and remove Ouko from office soon after the DPP disclosed he had been under pressure to prosecute the Auditor General for frivolous offences.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta himself has ridiculed the Auditor General over his audit of the Eurobond saga while Leader of Majority Aden Duale is on record accusing Mr Ouko of working for political interests and saying that they would do everything to remove him from office,” said Omtatah.
He argued that it is only after the DPP decided not to prosecute Mr Ouko in February that those opposed to his handling of graft used Mr Mwagonah to file the petition at the National Assembly raising the same queries the DPP had dismissed.
Omtatah said Parliament had no powers to investigate what had already been determined by the DPP, and that failure to provide evidence before Parliament is a clear motive of blackmailing the Auditor General.
Mr Omtatah sought a court declaration that the Finance Committee had no power to admit the petition against Mr Ouko and an order stopping MPs from debating or adopting any report on his conduct. Mr Ouko has also filed a suit against the plot to impeach him, arguing he was not allowed to interrogate his accuser.