, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 5 – Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji will move to the Court of Appeal to challenge a decision by the High Court declining to suspend indicted National Land Commission (NLC) Chairperson Muhammad Swazuri.
In a statement released Tuesday evening, Haji said his office will challenge the apparent discrimination of Public Officers over State officers under Section 62 (5) and 62 (6) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act.
Section 62 (6) of the Act appears to insulate State officers who hold offices for which the Constitution provides grounds for removal from office, from suspension once charged with corruption or economic crimes, unlike their counterparts – public officers.
“This section does not apply with respect to an office if the Constitution limits or provides for the grounds upon which a holder of the office may be removed or the circumstances in which the office must be vacated,” Section 62 (6) reads.
Under Section 62 (1) of the Act, both public and state offices charged with corruption or economic crimes are liable to suspension with half pay until the conclusion of a case provided the said case shall determined within twenty-four months.
Haji had in an application filed on November 16 sought a stay on a November 2 order that allowed Swazuri to remain in office despite having been charged with fraudulent payment of Sh 221.3 million for the acquisition of parcels of land for the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway.
In a decision rendered on Tuesday, Justice Hedwig Ong’udi declined to suspend the order allowing Swazuri to remain in office saying the prosecution had failed to persuade the court the embattled land commission chairperson had violated court-sanctioned conditions.
“I would have quickly reviewed the orders had the applicant shown that the conditions placed by the court had been violated,” the judge pointed out.
“Since the DPP dissatisfied with the court ruling, the best court is the Court of Appeal where it can rule on whether they have an arguable case or not, I disallow the application by DPP,” the judge ruled.
Swazuri, and suspended Kenya Railways Corporation Managing Director Atanas Maina are among 17 government officials charged on August 13 with misappropriation of funds allocated for land compensation.
The two faced charges of conspiracy to defraud the taxpayer by approving payments totaling to Sh221.3 million for five parcels of public land.
Maina was also charged with failure to protect the parcels of land which are listed as railway reserves.
The payments were paid to three private companies namely; Dasahe Investment Limited, Keibukwo Investment Limited and Olomotit Investment Limited.