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Economy

Ouko allowed to settle Sh20m bribery claim suit out of court

Auditor-General Edward Ouko.
Auditor-General Edward Ouko. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Auditor-General Edward Ouko has been allowed to settle a suit by an audit manager accused of soliciting a Sh20 million bribe to doctor reports out of court.

Through lawyer Milcah Ondek, Mr Ouko told Justice Nzioki wa Makau of the Labour Court in Nyeri that he would prefer an out of court settlement of the dispute filed by Raphael Muigai Ikame.

In the cases, Mr Ikame says he received an interdiction letter in March for allegedly soliciting for the money to alter an audit report for Kirinyaga County Government for the 2016/17 financial year.

The letter, filed in court, said he demanded for the bribe to manipulate the audit findings at a meeting in a hotel on Thika-Gatanga road. Mr Ikame filed a suit seeking reinstatement and compensation.

On Wednesday Mr Ouko, through his lawyers, sought for time to try an alternative dispute resolution mechanism.

He said hearing of the case should be stopped temporarily to allow out of court negotiations.

Justice Makau consented to the request but cautioned that if the parties fail to resolve the dispute hearing of the case will proceed.

He further ruled that the auditor should not take any adverse action against Mr Ikame since the court had lifted his interdiction. “The status quo be maintained. No adverse action should be taken against Mr Ikame,” said Justice Makau.

The case will be mentioned on January 16 to confirm if the matter has been resolved.

While the auditor-general has maintained that the suspension was lifted, Mr Ikame claims he has remained on half pay since April and that disciplinary action against him was still ongoing.

The letter from the auditor-general states that Mr Ikame led a team of eight officers in conducting an audit of Kirinyaga County Government on November 15, 2017.

He was accused of threatening contractors and suppliers with blacklisting if they did not part with the money.

Mr Ikame’s lawyers said he has never been found culpable of any wrong-doing for the 22 years that he has worked with the Office of Auditor-General.

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