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January 18, 2019

State fights to overturn court ruling suspending vetting of public officers

Supreme court/FILE
Supreme court/FILE
The government yesterday put up a spirited fight to overturn a decision suspending the vetting of public officers.
The court will tomorrow rule on whether the order obtained by activist Okiya Omtatah will be varied, set aside or reviewed pending hearing of the case.
Justice Onesmus Makau, after hearing arguments from the two sides, said he will issue a ruling on June 13. In the meantime, the gag imposed against the state will remain in force.  
The government wants the orders issued last week overturned, saying the activist failed to disclose crucial facts when he appeared before court on June 6.
The court was told the  orders were issued based on untruthful material non-disclosure and without giving the government an opportunity to be heard.
“As the defender and the protector of public interest, the Attorney General will ensure all the public officers affected are fully protected and if this does not happen any aggrieved individual at that time will be at liberty to come to court to seek for remedy,” Solicitor General Ken Ogeto said.
 Ogeto said the orders are prejudicial and injurious to the public in the war on corruption that is crippling the country. He told the court as at Friday, 458 public officers had voluntarily submitted to the Office of the President the information required for the vetting.
Lawyer George Oraro said the intended appraisal is not a disciplinary issue, but an inquiry into the record of the heads of procurement and accounting units in ministries, departments and agencies.
Omtatah opposed the bid by the government to set aside the orders, saying an illegality will be committed if the officers are vetted while out of office.
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