Parliament seeks green light to probe Swazuri bribery claims


NLC Chairman Mohammed Swazuri. FILE PHOTO
National Land Commission (NLC) Chairman Muhammad Swazuri. FILE PHOTO

National Assembly has asked the court to dismiss a case filed by National Land Commission (NLC) Chairman Mohammed Swazuri saying it has a role to interrogate the petition seeking his removal over a Ksh1 million bribery claim.

In its response, Parliament is asking court to allow it to complete its process and should restrain itself from restricting parliament from carrying out its constitutional obligations.

In replying to Swazuri’s petition, parliament argues that the final recommendation as to whether the holder of an independent office shall be removed from office is to be made by a tribunal appointed under the constitution and not by the National Assembly.

“It is at this point, if it is reached, the petitioner shall have the right to cross examine all witnesses,” reads the response.

Further, parliament argues that the role of the committee is to conduct an inquiry to gather evidence in exercise of its oversight functions and determine whether there are grounds for removal disclosed in the petition but not to sit as a court of law or a tribunal.

Parliament says that the jurisdiction of the high court is strictly limited an appeal to the decision of a tribunal adding that no tribunal has been appointed.

“This petition is a violation of the principle of separation of powers as it seeks for the court to delve into matters of internal procedures of the legislature,” claims parliament.

Under a certificate of urgency, Swazuri argues that the Departmental Committee on Lands is acting in excess of jurisdiction by usurping the exclusive roles of the police and EACC.

Swazuri insists that the parliamentary committee does not have the power to investigate allegations of bribery and corruption as the mandate exclusively belongs to the police and EACC.

Former journalist Mugo Njeru has petitioned the committee to investigate criminal allegations of corruption and bribery against Swazuri.

Meanwhile, the orders stopping parliament from proceeding with the hearing of the petition have been extended till May this year.

 

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