The High Court has dismissed a petition filed by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) questioning the authenticity of Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja’s academic papers.
In the petition, the EACC wanted the court to declare that Mr Samboja was not eligible to vie for the governor’s seat because of his academic qualifications.
It claimed that the governor provided false information on the self-declaration form provided to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) which, in their view, amounts to corruption.
But Justice James Makau threw out the petition saying the court has no authority to rule on the matter.
The judge said that in filing the petition, the EACC was attempting to turn his court, which deals with constitutional matters, into an election court.
He described the failure of EACC to institute the dispute at the election court as a fundamental mistake noting that the petition stemmed from the election of Mr Samboja.
“It is against the provisions of the law to turn election dispute to a constitution petition. EACC had other avenues. This court has no jurisdiction to hear and entertain the petition,” ruled Justice Makau while allowing an objection filed by Mr Samboja.
The judge further noted that the Twalib Mbarak-led commission had not furnished the governor with a copy of its report dated May 30, 2017, which indicated that he was ineligible.
It said Mr Samboja lacked a university degree and is culpable of falsification academic papers.
However, Justice Makau noted that there is no court order declaring the alleged falsification nor was has he ever been charged with a criminal case.
“Though there are serious questions of qualification, he was not charged with any offence of falsifying documents. Documents were not interrogated by IEBC,” said the judge.
The court ruled that suspicion, however strong, cannot provide a basis for inferring guilt which must be proved by evidence.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, EACC’s lawyer Jacky Kibogy said she is seeking instructions to file an appeal. She also asked to be furnished with certified typed proceedings of the case.