, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 26 – The Court of Appeal has ordered the reinstatement of Mumo Matemu as chairman of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).
The verdict overturns a 2012 decision of the High Court that annulled his appointment on grounds that he was involved in impropriety while serving as an official in the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) rendering him unfit to hold public office.
“Having reviewed the evidence before us and noting the insufficiency and inconclusiveness, we have found that the High Court’s conclusions of procedural impropriety on the part of the appointing organs and unsuitability of on the part of the appellant cannot be upheld,” the five-judge Court of Appeal bench ruled.
Matemu had argued that the High Court misapplied the doctrine of separation of powers in setting aside the appointment by other arms of government.
He also contended that “the Trusted Society of Human Rights Alliance did not have locus standi to institute the case before the High Court.”
The Non-Governmental Organisation based in Nakuru on the other hand held that it had the right to commence proceedings to defend the constitution. It further submitted that the High Court had jurisdiction to interrogate anything under the authority of the constitution, including questions related to the constitutionality or legality of appointments to State or public office.
Even though the five Court of Appeal judges agreed that the NGO had a right to institute the petition and that the court also had jurisdiction to set aside the appointment, “the petition was not pleaded with precision as required in constitutional petitions. Accordingly, the petition did not meet the standard enunciated in judicial practice.”
“The Court of Appeal’s judgement sets aside the decision of the High Court,” the verdict delivered on Friday states.
Matemu was appointed in 2011 alongside Jane Onsongo, and Irene Keino. Keino has been acting as chairperson after she and Onsongo took up duties at EACC.