Resident wins case against governor over auditor general report

Mandera Governor Ali Roba has suffered a setback after the High Court ordered that his government furnishes a resident who was denied access to Auditor General’s report on the county’s financial operations with that information.

Justice Joseph Onguto ruled that Mr Abdirahman Abdinur’s right to information was violated when he sought for that information but was denied.

“The public otherwise have a right to know and in the absence of a justifiable as well as insufficient reason, the information in the public sector should be made available, withholding information must be the exception while the release of it must be the rule,” Justice Onguto said.

The judge consequently ordered the governor, his county government and the County Public Service Board to forthwith grant him access to the said document saying that it is after all a public one.

Mr Abdinur had sued the three after being denied the said report for the year 2013.

He claimed that the Auditor General had raised a red flag on misappropriation of funds in the management of the county’s services.

He argued that he needed to prepare himself with sufficient information and would have only achieved that by looking at that Audit report in order to raise questions to his governor.

But the sued parties in their defence had told the court that there is no way one could demand for documents that date as far as three years back.

However the judge ruled that information sought was one involving a public document and faulted the sued parties for failing to prove how access to information ought to be limited.

“An accountable government, whether the national or county one is impossible if it has a monopoly over information that informs its actions and decisions. As such there ought to be availed information as to government records, its meetings on occasions where policy is formulated and where decisions are made as to public power,” Justice Onguto ruled.

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