Court declines to stop parliament from debating Ouko ouster

edward ouko

High Court Judge George Odunga has declined to stop Parliament from debating a petition to remove Auditor General Edward Ouko from office.

Instead, the judge certified the matter as urgent, saying the issues raised are of great public interest and directed that the matter be heard before Justice Chacha Mwita for further directions on Monday.

The respondents in the case argued that the said orders couldn’t be granted since there’s a similar case seeking similar orders before the constitutional court.

“Edward Ouko is an interested party in that case and he will have an opportunity to be heard in that petition. Let the matter filed by Ouko be mentioned and be consolidated with the one that was filed early this month before Judge Enoch Chacha Mwita,” the court ruled.

Otiendo Omollo, representing the auditor general, argued that Ouko has never been served with Okiya Omutatah’s petition, adding that he only read about it in the media.

Omollo added that they are not interested in the matter pending before the constitutional division, adding that the committee is infringing on his client’s constitutional rights.

In the case, Auditor General Edward Ouko is seeking orders restraining President Uhuru Kenyatta from constituting a tribunal to investigate him or acting on the recommendations of parliament.

Ouko claims that he was not told of the precise nature of allegations that he was facing and the manner in which he had breached Article 251 of the Constitution.

“The committee failed to give the applicant prior notice of when and where the accuser would appear,” he argues.

He further says that given the malicious nature, the unprecedented fast tracking and the unfair manner that the process was undertaken, he is apprehensive that the process will irreparably violate his fundamental rights and freedoms as guaranteed under the constitution.

“It is of utmost suspicion on how the petition to remove the applicant was fast-tracked,” reads the petition.

Ouko argues that parliament, in admitting and committing the petition to the Departmental Committee on Finance, planning and Trade for hearing, fundamentally flouted procedural fairness.

He says that he was compelled to face allegations by an accuser even when there were no supporting documents. Other orders that the embattled auditor general is seeking are a declaration that the process of removing him from office is unlawful.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Clerk of the National Assembly, National Assembly, AG and President Uhuru Kenyatta have been named as respondents in the case.

Auditor-General Edward Ouko appeared before a parliamentary committee to challenge a petition seeking his removal from office. In the petition before parliament, Emmanuel Mwagambo Mwagonah has accused Ouko of wasting public funds by accumulating a Ksh1 million phone bill on his iPad while he was abroad.

He claimed Ouko frequently travelled out of the country for personal reasons and has been managing the office remotely, resulting in high telephone and Internet costs.

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