, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – An Immigration officer who attempted to stop Chief Justice Willy Mutunga from leaving the country on grounds that he did not have clearance from the Head of Civil Service, Francis Kimemia, has been suspended.
Government spokesman Muthui Kariuki told journalists on Thursday that the official had been interdicted to facilitate investigations into the matter.
He said it was regrettable that the CJ was subjected to such treatment “yet a circular issued by Kimemia on November 9, 2012 did not include him among the officials required to seek Kimemia’s clearance.”
Kariuki claimed that the official was not acting at Kimemia’s behest and should therefore be probed.
“The officer involved in the incident has been interdicted to pave way for investigations. The Head of Civil Service had not and cannot detail any officer to humiliate the Chief Justice, who has had a very harmonious working relationship with his office,” he said.
Even though Kariuki maintained that the CJ was not included in the circular, when Mutunga returned to Nairobi from Tanzania he found a letter ‘clearing’ him to travel.
When he exposed the saga on Wednesday, the CJ said: “The Chief Registrar of the Judiciary received a purported ‘clearance to travel’ letter by Mr Kimemia dated February 14, stating it has been noted the Chief Justice is travelling to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.”
Capital FM News has seen two circulars on clearance of public servants for overseas travel.
Whereas both make reference to Holders of Independent Offices as among those required to seek clearance, one of the circulars has scribbling on the side with a pen saying, “exclude the CJ and the Speaker.”
Mutunga had also told journalists that he received a call from the Director General of the National Intelligence Service, Major-General Michael Gichangi, apologising for the incident.
In the meantime, Kariuki pointed out that the government had a 24-hour protocol office at the airport to facilitate travel for top government officials and dignitaries.
Kariuki revealed that the team investigating alleged threats by the Mungiki made to the CJ, will release its findings on Monday.
The team, which will be headed by the Inspector General of Police, will also be required to make public its findings.
“An investigation team consisting of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General was set up to investigate the matter and report its findings to the government not later than Monday, February 25,” he said.
He also said that the security of the CJ and that of other judges will be enhanced following claims of harassment and intimidation. Mutunga had said that five Judges have been attacked in recent pasts.
A high powered security meeting was held early on Thursday at the office of the president discussing the matter.
The closed-door meeting had been convened by Kimemia and was attended by Intelligence Chief Michael Gichangi, Military chief Julius Karangi, Internal Security Minister Katoo ole Metito and Inspector general David Kimaiyo.