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Court suspends arrest of Governor wa Iria

The Senate county public accounts and investment committee and Inspector General of police have been barred from arresting Murang’a governor Mwangi wa Iria until a petition he filed before the High court is mentioned next week.

On Friday, Wa Iria obtained conservatory orders suspending his arrest warrant issued by the committee until the matter before the High Court is mentioned in later September.

On September 2, the senate committee wrote to the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai requesting him to arrest and produce Wa Iria before the committee on September 10.

The committee accused the governor of failing to honour its’ summons to appear before members to answer audit queries.

Justice L.M. Njuguna sitting in the High Court Embu issued orders barring the IG from acting on the directive by the senate committee till his petition is mentioned on Wednesday.

In a petition number 17 of 2020 filed at the High Court under Constitutional and Human Rights Division, the Speaker of the Senate is listed as the first respondent while the Senate of Kenya is listed as the second respondent. The Inspector General of Police and 47 others have been listed as interested parties.

The court order reads in part “Pending hearing and determination of this application, a conservatory order is hereby issued staying/suspending the decision of the Senate to direct the Inspector General of Police to arrest the governor or interfering with his rights and fundamental freedoms or that of the interested parties until September 9.”

Wa Iria’s failure to honour summons by the Committee has also elicited a showdown between the Council of Governors and the Senate.

On Thursday, the Council of Governors directed all the governors to ignore the summons by the Senate Committee until such a time when Covid-19 pandemic will be managed and when the Senate resolves the revenue sharing formula stalemate.

The council also called on the DCI and EACC to investigate extortion claims by the Senate wondering why the committee bypassed the directions from the Speaker to suspend physical meetings.

The instructions from the Senate Speaker in a letter dated July 30, suspended the meetings for 30 days but the same has not been revised by the Senate Liaison Committee.

“That noting the escalation in the Covid-19 pandemic situation and the delicate phase into which the country may be entering, physical sittings of committees be suspended for a period of 30 days effective July 30 2020 and that consequently all sittings of Senate Committees be held on virtual platforms during this period and that the situation be retrieved at the expiry of that period,” the speaker’s directive read in part.

By Bernard Munyao

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