Politics and policy
Ministers, PSs put on notice over court awards
Posted Wednesday, August 1 2012 at 11:28
Civil servants will pay from their own pockets any compensation to litigants arising from disregard of court orders and awards.
Attorney-General Githu Muigai said he would withdraw legal representation for ministers and permanent secretaries cited for contempt of court for failure to obey judicial rulings.
“The Attorney-General will not defend a case where ministers or PSs are cited for contempt of court. It is gross misconduct to fail to pay legitimate court awards and there ought to be sanctions from the appointing authority, the President,” he told parliament.
He said the government was losing money by paying accumulated interest on awards that were ignored, adding that the culprits would be surcharged.
Last week Prof Muigai and the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko said ministers and PS’s were ignoring their legal advice.
Prof Muigai said he was not being consulted by ministers and some state corporations heads, which often resulted in conflicting and unconstitutional decisions being made by State officers.
“The State Law is finding itself fire fighting arising from such decisions yet it is supposed to give advice that avoids actionable decisions,” Prof Muigai said last week.
Wednesday, the AG told the House that the State Law office is compiling a comprehensive audit of all pending court claims against the government with a view to prioritising payments before the end of the current parliament.
The AG said the audit will culminate into a cabinet memorandum authorising a single payment for all pending claims.
“I am committed to taking an audit of all pending claims against government. I have categorised these claims in three components which include, human rights violations where several cases are pending in court while some have been awarded for damages. We will priorities these payments,” he said.
He said the second category revolves around Tort Claims-road traffic accidents and injury from wildlife while the last category comprises awards on Government contracts.
Prof Muigai, was answering a question by Mumias MP Benjamin Washaili seeking to know when the government will settle Sh388,795 awarded to Mrs Lydia Muhonja Mumia by a Kakamega court 17 years ago.
“We hope to have comprehensive cabinet memo authorising payment of all this claims by end of the 10th Parliament. I want to ensure that the Government will not have any outstanding bills to all claimants, by the end of the current term of parliament,” Prof Muigai said.
He said allocations had been made to various ministries to pay outstanding court claims.