, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 15 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati has yet again suspended the commission’s Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba, hours after he was reinstated by the court on Thursday.
In a letter addressed to Chiloba, Chebukati cited that the move was informed by the ongoing vetting of procurement officers as ordered by President Uhuru Kenyatta at the beginning of the month.
“The commission has resolved to suspend you with immediate effect as the accounting officer of the commission pending the completion of the comprehensive audit of all major procurements relating to the general elections of 8 August, 2017 and fresh presidential elections held on 26 October, 2017,” read part of the letter.
Chebukati stated in the letter that the CEO under clauses 3 and 5 was solely responsible for the prudent financial management of the commission’s finances, as well as the execution of all the commission’s programmes and plans in line with the constitutional mandate.
Consequently, he directed Chiloba to be away for three months until the auditing is complete.
Chebukati further said that the move was in line with President Kenyatta’s directive to suspend all government procurement heads and have them undergo fresh vetting.
Chiloba was reinstated by the Employment and Labor Relations Court on Thursday pending the determination of his suit challenging his initial suspension from the poll body.
In his finding, Justice Stephen Radigo concluded that the polls body did not have contractual authority to send Chiloba on forced leave.
The judge found that IEBC had other contractual options available to them before making the move, but did not consider them.
“In my view the compulsory leave was tantamount to removing him from office without complying with the IEBC Act,”he ruled.
Chebukati had defended the move insisting that sending Chiloba on leave was necessary to carry out comprehensive investigations into the procurement related to last year’s general elections.
It was contended that the resolution was made in good faith to enable the commission audit all major procurements made.
Chiloba had on his part protested the move accusing Chebukati of making a unilateral decision without following laid down procedures.
In addition, Chiloba had argued that he was not given an opportunity to defend himself.