Court suspends Uhuru’s order on fresh vetting of all procurement heads


Court suspends Uhuru's order on fresh vetting of all procurement heads
President Uhuru Kenyatta who ordered that procurement heads undergo fresh vetting.

In Summary

  • The Court has certified the matter as urgent and issued an interim order stopping the planned vetting.
  • In his Madaraka Day speech President Uhuru Kenyatta declared that all procurement and accounting heads in government would undergo fresh vetting which will also see them subjected to lie detector tests within the next 30 days.

The High Court has temporarily suspended the government’s move to send home all heads of procurement and accounting in public offices as it seeks to have them undergo fresh vetting.

This is after activist Okiya Omtatah moved to court to challenge the decision was made “subjectively, though an irregular and opaque process” that did not involve public participation and violated the constitution.

High Court judge Onesmus Makau, while issuing the orders, certified the matter as urgent and directed that the petition be served upon the respondents in the case who include Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and the Attorney General.

The Head of Public Service on Monday, June 4 directed all heads of procurement and accounting units in ministries, departments, agencies and state corporations to step aside with immediate effect.

The officials were further asked to submit personal information to the Office of the Head of Public Service to be delivered by Friday, June 8, 2018 at Harambee House. The personal information being sought include; their assets, liabilities and previous record of service.

“The exercise is geared towards determining suitability to continue holding office in the public trust and promote confidence in the public service,” read part of the notice.

In the petition, Omtatah claims the directive has created extreme anxiety as it purports to terminate the services of the said officials by sending them on a 30-day compulsory leave.

“It is totally unreasonable and unprocedural unfair for the public officers who have personally not been accused of any wrong doing to be punished,” argues Omtatah.

According to Omtatah, the directive constitutes a gross attack on Article 25(c) of the Constitution which declares that the rights to a fair trial may not be limited.

The petitioner is aggrieved that the blanket disciplinary measure is being imposed on a class of people without holding each one accountable for specific claims as an individual, and without consideration for its impact on the general population and the public service.

He says that Mr. Kinyua, who issued the circular of the fresh vetting, is not a regulation making authority under the law and therefore has absolutely no capacity to issue any directive.

In the case, Omtatah wants the court to quash the circular adding that Kinyua has no capacity to issue such orders – circular.

In his Madaraka Day speech President Uhuru Kenyatta declared that all procurement and accounting heads in government would undergo fresh vetting which will also see them subjected to lie detector tests within the next 30 days.

“All heads of procurement and accounts in government ministries, departments, agencies and parastatals will undergo fresh vetting including polygraph testing to determine their integrity and suitability,” said Mr. Kenyatta during the 55th Madaraka Day celebrations at Kinoru stadium in Meru.

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Story By Dzuya Walter
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