Cockar team takes oath of office

July 21, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, July 21- The five-man team appointed to probe the irregular sale of Grand Regency hotel took oath of office Monday before Chief Justice Evan Gicheru.

The ceremony was held in private at the Chief Justice’s chamber.

The Commission’s chair, Retired Judge Abdul Majid Cockar, who spoke shortly after the ceremony however told the media that the team would not start public hearings yet, until the rules and procedures are gazetted.

“The rules and procedure have to be gazetted first and once that is done, we will proceed,” said retired Justice Cockar.

He said that as soon after gazettement, the commission would commence hearings to unravel the mystery surrounding the transaction, which saw the resignation of Amos Kimunya as Finance Minister.

Last Friday, the commission in a statement signed by Commission Secretary Anthony Ombwayo said it had already embarked on earnest groundwork and announced what it termed “serious progress” to ensure a smooth commencement of hearings.

Ombwayo said preparation of the rules of procedure had been undertaken and investigators were already gathering evidence from persons mentioned in the gazette notice and other potential witnesses.

In the same statement, the commission, which comprises members Kathurima M’Inoti, Charles Kirui and Wilfred Mati, also published its terms of reference, which include, among others inquiring circumstances leading to the sale of the hotel.

It would look into the role played by Kimunya, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) governor, Professor Njuguna Ndung’u together with CBK company secretary and any other persons involved in the sale.

Similarly, the commission stipulated that it would be expected to recommend legal and administrative measures deemed necessary, and report its findings and recommendations within one month.

It was also bestowed powers to receive views from members of the public and receive written and oral statements from any person with relevant information and also allowed to use any previous reports in the matter and receive opinion in various relevant areas.

Like the other commissions, it was also given power to summon persons concerned to testify on oath and to produce any books, valuations or any other documents that the commissioners may require.

Meanwhile, another suit challenging the sale of the controversial hotel was Monday filed at the High Court by a man who seeks to compel Prime Minister Raila Odinga to supervise and ensure that the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) conduct investigations into the irregular sale.

Anthony Cherogony filed the suit contesting the sale of the five-star hotel saying it was irregular, and unprocedural.

Cherogony argued that the hotel is a public property and wanted the court to completely nullify the sale and order prosecution of all those involved in the transaction.

He claimed that as a taxpayer, he has been denied an opportunity to place his highest bid for the hotel since it is a public property.

He also wanted the court to restrain the CBK from entering into any agreement over the hotel, or its sale.

He named among respondents in the case, Lands Minister James Orengo, Commissioner of Lands and the Law Society of Kenya


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