EACC raid of Meru County offices legal: High Court
10 June 2014, 14:00
Nairobi - A High Court judge ruled Monday that the searches
conducted at the Meru County government offices by the anti-grafts agency
over corruption claims were lawful.
While dismissing a case filed by Mr Peter Munya’s County
government against the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission over search
warrants issued and conducted at its offices resulting to the seizing of documents
over alleged corruption, Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi defended EACC’s actions
terming them as legal.
The judge ruled that the County Government of Meru is not a
person to seek protection from the court in a bid to stop the effect of search
warrants issued and advised that it should have approached the magistrate
court which had ordered so.
“EACC was entitled to apply for search warrants and seizure
under the criminal procedure Act in line with its duty to investigate
corruption, hence execution of the search warrants and material collected is a
subject yet to be covered, the Meru County government can go to the lower court
as it deems fit to look at varying its earlier order,” said judge Ngugi.
The county Government had alleged that the EACC official who
conducted to search and seized documents on April 20 was unethical.
And the judge ruled that the matter should have been
reported to EACC and not the Court for disciplinary action hence declined to
issue an order that Mr Ali Guyo be arrested and prosecuted.
“Investigations relate to tendering processes which may
yield suspects who may be entitled to protection, the petitioners in this case
have not shown that the EACC failed to exercise its powers by punishing the
claimed unethical officer besides the County government of Meru is not a person
who can claim rights violation but a state organ,” said Lady Justice Ngugi.
The Munya’s government had blamed the EACC for raiding its
offices without prior notice and taking away original documents from the
procurement department and declining to allow them to even make copies of the
Through lawyer Okong’o Omogeni, the EACC had overstepped its
mandate as the action was politically instigated and wanted the EACC barred
from using whatever evidence obtained from the seized material to file charges.
According to Meru’s Muthara location retired chief Julius
Kang’ote M’abuabua, another EACC official Japheth Baithalu has had political
differences with Mr Munya ever since he entered into politics.
However EACC argued that it had received information
alleging that some MCA’s had registered construction companies to irregularly
obtain contracts from the Meru County government and that some of the said
companies had already received payments without having offered any services.
After carrying out investigations, EACC’s Guyo applied for
the search warrants at a Nyeri Magistrates Court on March 19 which authorised
any investigator from the agency to enter and search the offices.
According to Guyo he met the County’s Secretary, the Supply
Chain Manager and the Works officer before taking possession of some documents
as well as the legal officer who satisfied the legality of his warrant.
He claims that an inventory was prepared and was signed by
both parties on that day but on March 27 when he met the County’s Principal
Accounts Controller and the County Secretary, they declined further documents
from being taken saying that he had a political agenda.
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