NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 24 – Human rights activist Okiya Omtatah has filed a petition in the High Court accusing National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and Emmanuel Mwagambo – an advocate who through a petition to the National Assembly is seeking the removal of Auditor General Edward Ouko – of colluding to hound Ouko out of office.
In the case filed Friday, Omtatah said Mwagambo’s petition – National Assembly Petition No. 6 of 2017 – was in blatant violation of the Constitution saying it lacked merit and therefore should be declared null and void.
According to Omtatah, Speaker Muturi abused his powers by “aiding and abetting the orchestrated witch-hunt to remove the first respondent (Ouko) from the office as the Auditor General, contrary to Article 236 of the Constitution, by approving and fast tracking the 4th respondent’s (Mwagambo’s) frivolous, vexatious and scandalous petition that is NOT backed by any evidence, and thereby infringes on the first interested party’s (Ouko’s) right to a fair trial, due process, and fair administrative action.”
Omtatah said the wars facing the Auditor General were being fuelled by members of the Executive and the Legislature who are keen to get rid of Ouko.
“Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) irregularly appointed the firm of Baker Tilly Merali to audit the accounts of the Office of the Auditor General,” Omtatah submitted in the petition.
He said the PSC was misguided in conducting the recruitment exercise of the external auditor, as opposed to the National Assembly.
“When some MPs realised the error, they devised a scheme to wriggle the PSC out of trouble by accusing Ouko of compromising the audit firm by awarding it a contract to do another job within the office.”
Omtatah, who is also the Executive Director for Kenyans for Justice and Development (KEJUDE) further pointed an accusing finger at President Uhuru Kenyatta, blaming him for mocking Ouko on live television during an event at State House in October last year, over his involvement in the audit of Eurobond proceeds.
During the summit, President Kenyatta criticised Ouko for mounting hurdles to the nation’s development, wondering how Ouko’s office could question the integrity of the Federal Reserve Bank which was key in Kenya’s acquisition of the Eurobond.
“This man (Ouko) here says he wants to interrogate the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. My God! Anyway, you know, you sit back and you ask yourself, are we being serious in what we are doing?” President Kenyatta remarked during the State House event.
Omtatah has also accused National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale of leading an onslaught against Ouko by publicly accusing him of crafting audit reports to settle political goals.
The lawyer has also put a strong argument for the dismissal of the petition based on the strict timelines within which the National Assembly operates and the fact that parliament may not have the capacity to carry out proper investigations among reasons why the petition should be thrown out and hence quash any resolution by the National Assembly to forward the petition to the President for dismissal.
Thursday, the National Assembly’s Finance and Trade Committee handling Mwagambo’s petition ruled that he appears before the committee in person to prosecute the petition despite his application to have the committee consider his written memorandum on grounds that his life is in danger.
It still remains unclear whether Ouko will appear before the committee to defend himself from accusations levelled against him.