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Economy

EACC wants Ojienda case against probe moved to graft court

Lawyer Tom Ojienda. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has asked the suit filed by Lawyer Tom Ojienda challenging inquiry into misuse of the official vehicle be transferred to anti-graft and economic crimes division of the High Court.

Mr Ojienda filed the suit at the constitutional division of the High Court alleging that the EACC infringed on his rights when it summoned him over allegations of misuse of a car offered to the lawyer as a commissioner of the Judicial Service Commission.

Justice Enoch Chacha Mwita had in December issued temporary order stopping Prof Ojienda’s arrest and responding to summons from the EACC over misuse of the GK car with a private plate number, which the lawyer says he does not drive and is under the care of an official driver.

But EACC says proper forum for the suit is the anti-corruption and economic crimes division of the High Court on the ground that the alleged infringement of constitutional rights occurred in the course of investigations into unethical conduct.

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“That this honourable court be pleased to transfer this petition to the anti-corruption and economic crimes division of the High Court of Kenya for hearing and determination,” reads the order the EACC sought.

In documents filed at the High Court, Prof Ojienda claimed that he was summoned to appear before detectives on December 21 last year and asked to make available his national identity card.

He said this was a sideshow intended to divert him from performing his constitutional duties, cause him psychological torture as well as block him from running for a second term as a JSC commissioner.

There are disciplinary procedures under the JSC Act on how a judicial staff, judges and commissioners ought to be disciplined if need be, he said.

Prof Ojienda claimed that the alleged offence is an issue to be handled by the internal disciplinary procedures set out by the JSC Act as it is purely an employer-employee question.

He argued that the mandate to allocate vehicles rests with the office of the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary hence it is apparent that the EACC is out on a malicious excursion to subject him to a flawed criminal process.

But the EACC, in its response, said it has the power to initiate investigations into alleged misuse of the official vehicle by Prof Ojienda who is a State officer.

The agency further denies allegations that it had planned to arrest him, noting that Prof Ojienda was summoned to record statement.



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