Governors take impeachment battle to Supreme Court

February 17, 2014 6:06 am
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Ruto says regulations as laid out in the County Government's Act are vague and not specific to actions taken personally by Governors/AFP
Ruto says regulations as laid out in the County Government’s Act are vague and not specific to actions taken personally by Governors/AFP
NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17 – The Council of Governors is now set to move to the Supreme Court to seek an advisory opinion on the procedure to be followed in impeaching County Chief Executives.

This follows the impeachment of Martin Wambora as Embu Governor last week.

The Chairman of the Council of Governors Isaac Ruto told Capital FM News that the regulations as laid out in the County Government’s Act are vague and not specific to actions taken personally by Governors.

He further indicated that Senators personalised the issue and added that Governors are not custodians of county records and accounting officers should be held accountable for all procurement matters.

“The procedures under the County Government Act are very shallow and hold the Governor responsible for virtually everything that goes on in the county. However, we must be cognisant of the fact that Governors are not custodians of county records,” he stated.

Ruto also revealed that Governors will meet on Tuesday to among other things, discuss the way forward following summonses issued by the Senate to nine of their colleagues.

He emphasised that Governors should only be held accountable for administrative actions under their tenure and added that the status quo might degenerate into a witch-hunt to force Governors out of office.

The Senate on Friday impeached Wambora but spared his Deputy, Dorothy Nditi. She has since taken over as Embu Governor.

Thirty-nine Senators voted to impeach Wambora after he was found to have violated the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, the Public Finance Management Act and the Constitution.

The charges were in respect to procurement of 16 tonnes of maize seeds at Sh3.52million, which were condemned and thus failed to germinate, and another tender for refurbishment of Embu Stadium at Sh8million.

Embu Senator Lenny Kivuti abstained from the historic vote as Baringo Senator Gideon Moi voted ‘no’ on all counts.

Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale who led the Senate Special Committee that probed the two found that the embattled Governor violated the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2005 (PPDA) and PPDA Regulations 2013, the Public Finance and Management Act and the Constitution.

The Senate team said the Governor repeatedly argued that he would never involved himself in matters of procurement which should be an entirely different thing from taking action to deal with those responsible for procurement malpractices.

The report stated that the Governor gave the impression that he had totally removed himself from the controversies surrounding the works of the Embu stadium and defective maize seeds, leaving the matters primarily to the County Secretary, if not to no one in particular.

The charges of abuse of office and violation of the County Governments Act 2012 made against the Embu Governor were, however, found not to have been substantiated by the Senate team.

In his defence, Wambora maintained his innocence and read malice over the manner in which the County Assembly went ahead with the impeachment.

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