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Labour court suspends interviews for new data commissioner position

Justice Hellen Wasilwa put on hold the interviews which started Tuesday morning
Justice Hellen Wasilwa put on hold the interviews which started Tuesday morning. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Employment and Labour Relations court has stopped interviews for a Data Commissioner's job, pending the determination of a case challenging the transparency of the recruitment process.

Nairobi lawyer Adrian Kamotho made the application to stop the interviews of candidates, which started Tuesday morning, alleging the Public Service Commission (PSC) didn't disclose important information about the vacancy.

Justice Hellen Wasilwa directed the case to be heard on July 14.

The PSC shortlisted 10 candidates after announcing the position on March 25. The 10 were scheduled to appear before the panel from 8.30 a.m. to 4.15 p.m. Each candidate had been allocated 45 minutes.

Mr Kamotho said the origin and time of notification giving rise to the declaration of the vacancy was never revealed from the onset by the PSC.

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He said the failure to disclose it is contrary to the national values and principles of governance of good governance and transparency, which require the State to publish and publicise any important information affecting the state.

Mr Kamotho said he wrote to the PSC seeking information on the same but the commission casually disregarded his queries, “depicting an absolute lack of legal basis to proceed with the recruitment as purported”.

He said the methodology and system used to shortlist the applicants is not known in law and contravenes the rules of natural justice.

“The Respondent has refused to avail the notification of vacancy prescribed under section 6 (1) of the Data Protection Act, that was relied upon to declare the vacancy for the position. Therefore, the recruitment process remains mysterious and contrary to the fundamental tenets of transparency and openness in public affairs,” he said.

The lawyer said Data Commissioner has immense powers and functions, hence the need for strict adherence to the law in filling of the position.

He said the PSC published the list of applicants and shortlisted candidates outside the statutory timeline in May, rendering the process defective and irredeemably tainted with illegality.

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