- The petition that was filed on October 12, seeks to impeach the entire board.
- The board comprises of Catherine Omweso (Chairperson), John Wanyama, Stanley Were, Joel Omukoko, Sylvia Otunga and Raphael Wangatia.
Members of the Kakamega County Public Service Board (CPSB) lost the first round in a petition seeking to impeach them.
The assembly public service and administration committee on Thursday dismissed a preliminary objection filed by the board members for lacking merit.
"The notice of preliminary objection dated November is not merited in its entirety and is hereby dismissed. The petition shall proceed as earlier directed,” said Walunya Indimuli who delivered a ruling on submissions by both parties on whether the petition is properly before the committee not.
In its preliminary objection, the board through lawyers Calystus Shifwoka, Evans Mireri and Wanjala Mukonyi had pocked holes in the petition terming it an abuse of the legal process.
The respondents argued that the evidence presented by the petitioner Dennus Muhanda, was obtained illegally and cannot therefor be admitted and instead be struck out.
Shifwoka said part of the evidence presented by Muhanda was official government information obtained illegally.
“Public documents can only be admissible if they are obtained following due legal process. They are not certified. There is no documents of request of the document by the petitioner and proof of payments,” he said.
“We realised that most of the documents were requested for by the county assembly and given to the petitioner. The only logical conclusion is that the county assembly requested for the documents. There is serious conflicting interest by committee or members of the committee,” he added.
But Muhanda argued that the evidence contested by the respondents was information in public domain.
He denied that he obtained the evidence through the county assembly.
He said the respondents were simply using the preliminary objection to hide some of the issues he was seeking to respondent and buy time.
“I even didn’t know members of this committee until today. I have been served with the objection here but I’m ready to proceed because I’m representing many people,” he said.
The petition that was filed on October 12, seeks to impeach the entire board. The board comprises of Catherine Omweso (Chairperson), John Wanyama, Stanley Were, Joel Omukoko, Sylvia Otunga and Raphael Wangatia.
The petition lists various grounds for removal of the board, including serious violation of the constitution, violation of Chapter 6 of the constitution, breach of statute law, abuse of office, gross misconduct, conflict of interest, and incompetence.
Muhanda who is also the UDA chairman for Kakamega county, accuses the board of conspiring with former governor Wycliffe Oparanya to unlawfully remove Catherine Gathoni as a member of the board.
In his petition, Muhanda said the board commenced disciplinary action against Gathoni, despite lacking such mandate within the law.
He accuses the board of illegally and unlawfully appointing Rose Omondi as a signatory to its bank accounts, a position only reserved for the head of county treasury.
The petitioner says that the displayed incompetence by firing 47 revenue clerks illegally who were later reinstated by the Public Service Board after appeals, cost the county government funds that would have otherwise been avoided.
The petition said the board members, unlawfully, illegally and without any legal basis, authorised and approved and paid out public funds to third parties including to themselves, contrary to provisions of Public Finance Management Act, by purporting to perform the functions of a public officer without approval of the County Assembly of Kakamega as required by law.
The petition says the board recruited up to 400 revenue clerks without request and approval of the county executive committee between July 2020 and June 2021.
It said the chairperson usurped the role of the Chief Executive Officer of the board, and purported to make communications on behalf of the board without such authority.
The petition comes six months after two other petitioners petitioned the county assembly seeking impeachment of the board on almost similar grounds in February.
Edwin Shivakale and Alex Shikanga would later withdraw their petitions unconditionally in unclear circumstances.
The assembly committee on public service and administration is yet to table its report on the two petitions.