The High Court Monday permanently quashed the move by the NGO Co-ordination Board’s executive director to have the Africa Centre for Open Governance (AfriCOG) close down its operations and its directors prosecuted.
Justice George Odunga also quashed an August 15 letter from the board urging the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to effect criminal prosecutions.
He said the issue was a clear case of abuse of powers by the NGO Coordination Board and its executive director, Fazul Mahamed, whose term in office has since expired, hence ordered to pay the lobby the costs of the suit due to the inconvenience caused.
“An order of prohibition is hereby directed prohibiting them from carrying out any acts or conduct whatsoever physical or otherwise intended at forthwith closing down the operations of AfriCOG in pursuance of the said decision,” he ruled.
Justice Odunga also stopped an intended freezing of the lobby’s bank accounts as well as the arrest and prosecution of its directors. He said there was no need for the CBK to be dragged into the matter.
AfriCOG and seven other human rights activists sued Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i, the Attorney General, the NGO board and Mr Mahamed over the closure of the lobby. The DCI, Director of Public Prosecution and the CBK had also been sued in the case in which the Law Society of Kenya was listed as an interested party.
Mr Mahamed had accused AfriCOG of not being registered in line with the relevant law and operating as a charitable organisation, an offence that attracts 18 months jail term penalty.