By Kenya Confidential Legal Desk, Nairobi – May 1, 2021˜
Senators James Orengo, Kipchumba Murkkomen, Mithika Linturi and MPs who are lawyers have been barred from representing government officials facing graft cases, according to a landmark ruling delivered by Mombasa High Court
Greedy lawyers who have been supplementing their income with public funds from corrupt public officers were dealt a major blow from Justice Erick Ogola who ordered they immediately stop using public resources to promote corruption.
Subsequently Senators, like James Orengo, Kipchumba Murkkomen, Mithika Linturi and MPs who are lawyers have been barred from representing government officials facing graft cases, according to a landmark ruling delivered by Mombasa High Court.
Apart from the legislators, State officials who are also practicing law will also not appear for their colleagues equally charged with economic crimes.
Justice Ogola said it was unfortunate that State officers facing economic crimes were being driven in government vehicles to courts and represented by their colleagues. He made the ruling following an application by State counsel Alexander Muteti seeking to bar Siaya Senator Orengo from representing Daniel Manduku, the former Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director.
“Granted that the senator is entitled to pursue private gain, what perception does the public get when the accused person who is charged with economic crimes has, as his counsel, a senator, a State officer drove to court in a motor vehicle bought by the public?” posed Justice Ogola.
Ogola said, in his view, it was a clear case of conflict of interest when the accused (Manduku) has the senator as his advocate.
“It is the finding hereof that the continued representation of Manduku by Orengo or any other State officer is against the spirit of Chapter Six of the Constitution of Kenya for failure to conform to the mandatory provisions of Section 26 of the Leadership and Integrity Act,” the judge said.
Muteti, in his application, said there was a conflict of interest for Orengo and other State officers to represent government officials accused of economic crimes.
Orengo was representing Manduku in a case where he is charged with misappropriation of over Ksh2.7 billion related to tenders at Kisumu port and Kenya Railway Makongeni yard where concrete slabs were constructed.
“In our humble submission, it would be absurd under Article 73 of the Constitution to allow State officers serving in the National Assembly or Senate to appear before the court of this country and defend persons accused of any crime,” said Muteti.
Orengo said there was a Bill in Parliament meant to address the issue of conflict of interest.There is no doubt the legislators will try to bend the law to satisfy their greed.
The Leadership and Integrity Act is abundantly clear that, “A State officer who has a duty to give advice shall give honest, accurate and impartial advice without fear or favour. 26. (1) Subject to subsection (2), a State officer who is serving on a full time basis shall not participate in any other gainful employment.”
Members of Parliament and Senators serve on full time basis and should not participate in any other gainful employment such as legal representation – especially offering legal services to corrupt public officers looting public coffers. By so doing they are part and parcel the vicious cycle of corruption.
Corruption trickles down as poverty.