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Omtatah's bid to stop vetting of procurement officers flops

Joseph Kinyua.
Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

All government procurement and finance officers should proceed on forced leave to allow their employer time to vet them, a judge has ruled.

The Employment and Labour Relations court gave the directive on Wednesday after setting aside its earlier orders stopping the audit.

Justice Onesmus Makau’s decision means the targeted officers will now have to proceed on a 30-day compulsory leave.

The judge ordered all procurement and accounting officers to provide the required documents within 10 days — by June 22, 2018.

According to the judge, the earlier order in favour of the petitioner, activist Okiya Omtatah, was issued without proper disclosure of facts.

Justice Makau faulted Mr Omtatah for failing to disclose the fact that he has a pending court case against head of public service Joseph Kinyua.

Given reasons

According to the judge, every employer has a right to send their employees on compulsory leave as long as the same staff are given reasons.

The judge said giving reasons is a basic human right which cannot be wished away in a democratic society.

"No party has denied that corruption has increased and that public officials have been involved. The executive knows how to handle this and in this case it chose the compulsory leave way," ruled Justice Makau.

The court also directed that the affected officers should provide the required documents in 10 days, and that June 22 should be the deadline for doing so.

The judge also defended his temporary order suspending the government's directive since the activist sufficiently proved that the rights of the affected officers were likely to be violated.

He pointed out that the manner in which the disputed government circular was framed implied that the targeted officers were to automatically face disciplinary action.

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Originally published on the Daily Nation website

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