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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 seized documents.


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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