The Executive arm of the government has attacked the Judiciary for derailing the fight against graft after the Employment Court suspended a State House directive requiring public procurement and accounting officers to step aside to pave way for fresh vetting.
Solicitor-General Kennedy Ogeto and Interior principal secretary Karanja Kibicho reckon that the court is acting as a shield for those involved in the theft of taxpayers’ money.
“The appraisal process is being undertaken in the best interest of the public, as such, the ex-parte order serves to curtail the progress being made in the fight against corruption and offers a shield to perpetrators of graft as well as impunity,” said Mr Ogeto.
“It is important that once a person becomes a public officer they are open to scrutiny and disclosing information.”
Justice Onesmus Makau last week temporary stopped the suspension of the officers as well as their vetting that kicked off last week.
The heads of procurements and accounts units in ministries, departments, agencies and State corporations were Monday instructed to step aside with immediate effect and hand over to their deputies.
They were required to submit “personal information” including assets, liabilities and their record of service to the head of Public Service by Friday to facilitate a fresh vetting process.
The court is set to rule on Wednesday on whether its order will be lifted.
“With each passing day in which government is prevented to undertake an appraisal of the heads of procurement and accounting units in ministries, departments and agencies, corruption in the entire public sector remains untackled,” Mr Kibicho said.
While pointing out that the exercise will also be rolled out to other public officers, he accused the court of immobilising the fight against corruption.
“The public is losing faith in the procurement undertaken by public bodies in Kenya and the court should support the fight against corruption related thereto instead of frustrating the process,” he added.
Activist Okiya Omtatah is behind the suit that suspended the vetting, arguing it was irregular, hurried, arbitrary and an opaque process that did not involve public participation.
This comes as dozens of officials and business people were detained for alleged theft of about Sh500 million via the National Youth Service.
The affected public servants will also take polygraph or lie detector tests and those who do not pass will be sent home.