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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 29 March 2015

Eyebrows raised in Kisumu county speaker case

Eyebrows have been raised over two orders which were recently given by the court of appeal in Kisumu in a civil suit pitting the county assembly, the executive, the speaker and the service board.
Three appellate judges namely David Maraga, William Ouko and Sankale Ole Kantai gave stay orders barring the speaker from assuming office even before an application was heard.
The trio ruled that the speaker Ann Adul should remain out of office until a suit filed by the assembly challenging her reinstatement by the Industrial Court is heard and determined.
Strangely enough Festus Azangalala, Maraga and Sankale were at it again by giving conservancy orders after the court had stood up.
Paul Muite who is appearing for the executive in the protracted suit called the judges while on their feet to give the orders without stay records.
Justice Maraga gave the orders orally to the consternation of all who were present in court that day.
The three judges went ahead again to maintain the status quo for 60 days after finding that the appeal by the assembly was arguable.
What is amusing is the fact that two chief officers, Owen Ojuok who is the acting clerk and  his assistant Nicholas Okola who were prosecuted and fined  Sh200,000 each for contempt of court are still in office.
Justice Helen Wasilwa of the Industrial Court in Kisumu cited them for contempt.
Sources indicate that Muite has been paid close to Sh8 million while Okongo Omogeni was paid Sh5 million.
On the material day before the issuance of the stay orders, one of the court officers was seen in a hotel in Kisumu before the suit commenced.
Adul went to the High Court upon her removal from office by MCAs. Wasilwa found that her rights were violated since she was not given a chance to be heard by  the MCAs. She said her rights were fundamentally abused.
 The judges ordered that the legal tussle pitting Adul, two chief officers, the county service board, the acting speaker and the executive be heard and determined within 60 days.
The appellate court ruled that appeals filed by the Kisumu county assembly, the acting speaker Gabriel Otieno and the acting clerk and his assistant is arguable.
The court also ruled that interim orders barring Adul from assuming office until the matter is heard and determined will remain in force.
The bone of contention is the reinstatement of Adul as the speaker together with Melco Sagwe and Peter Anditi by the Industrial Court after they were removed by members of the county assembly.
Adul and the other two chief officers had moved to High Court after being removed by the county assembly.
The High Court later referred the matter to the Industrial Court which found that her fundamental rights and freedoms were infringed since she was not given a chance to be heard and that neither was she granted notice before the censure motion.
The MCAs had appointed Gabriel Otieno who is an MCA as the acting speaker.
But the appellants contend that reinstating Adul would disrupt proceedings given the bad blood between her and the MCAs.
But the appellants argue that Industrial Court judge Wasilwa erred by using electronic data in finding the chief officer in contempt of court.

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