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MPs agree to obey court order halting Auditor General probe

Auditor General Edward Ouko addressing the press in his Anniverssary Towers office. He claims there is witch hunt in a petition to remove him from office and his accuser are invisible and not ready to give evidence of the allegations leveled against him. With him is his lawyer ON 16/03/2017 PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE

MPs yesterday agreed to obey a court order barring them from probing Auditor General Edward Ouko until a case he filed in court is determined.

The lawmakers had been investigating a petition seeking the removal of Mr Ouko from office on allegations of corruption.

The Auditor General moved to court seeking orders to bar the MPs from probing him after the petitioner failed to point out who his (Ouko) accusers were.  

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi in his ruling yesterday said the House would comply with the order, just days after MPs tore into the Judiciary for the ruling, which has placed the two arms of Government at loggerheads.

Speaker Muturi said the House would instead appeal the ruling, which he criticised for attempting to usurp the powers of the National Assembly to determine petitions brought before it.

“In respecting the court orders, the assembly Committee on Finance, Planning and Trade continues with its suspension of the investigation of the specific grounds alleged by Emmanuel Mwagonah in his petition to the National Assembly seeking removal of Edward Ouko from office of the Auditor General.

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However, the committee is hereby required to submit a progress report to the House, within seven days from tomorrow, detailing the matters of the petition as at March 13 for consideration by the House in accordance with the Standing Orders,” the Speaker said.

He added: “The House would expect that the court order is not an attempt to remove the hat of the National Assembly and put it on the Judiciary, as doing so would be a clear violation of the provisions of Article 251 of the Constitution, which confers jurisdiction only on the National Assembly to consider a the petition for removal of the Auditor General in terms of substance.”

This ruling means for the first time, Parliament has decided to walk a thin line in its view that its proceedings cannot be halted by the courts.

 

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