Parliament to vet three nominees for top public offices

The two coalition principals Tuesday forwarded names of three nominees for critical constitutional offices to Parliament, ending the secrecy that has attended the process for a week.

Prof Githu Muigai replaces Amos Wako as Attorney General after 20 years, while Agnes Odhiambo becomes the new Controller of Budget. The new Auditor General is Edward Ouko.

Under the new Constitution, the three offices have to be filled before Saturday which leaves Parliament with a short period within which to approve the names.

House Speaker Kenneth Marende Tuesday received the names and ordered that they be vetted by the relevant House committees for tabling in Parliament Thursday.

The constitution demands that the positions be occupied before the deadline, with the threat of a government shutdown hanging over the country thereafter if the Controller, who authorises all expenditure, is not in office. The three are likely to be vetted by the Constitutional Implementation, Budget, and Finance committees respectively.

Prof Muigai, a partner at law firm Mohammed and Muigai, holds a PhD degree from the University of Nairobi and an LLM degree from Columbia University School of Law. Ms Odhiambo has been the Constituency Development Fund board chief executive and secretary since 2009. Prior to this, she was the director for finance and administration at Postbank.

She is a first-class Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) degree holder and has a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Nairobi.

Mr Ouko has been an auditor general with African Development Bank in Tunis. He is a fellow and member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya. He has a Bachelor of Commerce degree in finance and accounting from the University of Nairobi.

Before joining AfDB, he spent more than 25 years in the auditing and accounting fields in both public and private sectors. He worked for accounting firms in London and Nairobi and has been networking with other heads of audits and integrity of multilateral development banks and United Nations agencies for over 10 years.

The selection panel, appointed by President Kibaki, completed the task last week but in a break from tradition refused to reveal the names of the short-listed candidates.

The action attracted criticism from Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution chairman Charles Nyachae and Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Mutula Kilonzo.