Chebukati team risks jail over court contempt

Judge directs IEBC bosses to appear before him in person within 30 days

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati and two other commissioners risk jail terms after the High Court ordered them to justify why they should not be cited for disobeying a court order directing them to reinstate chief executive Ezra Chiloba.

Justice Stephen Radido ordered the three to appear in court in person within 30 days to show cause why contempt proceedings should not be commenced against them.

“I issue a 30-day notice to  Chebukati, Abdi Galiye and Boya Molu to personally attend court to show cause why contempt of court proceedings should not be commenced against them,” ordered the judge.

Chiloba petitioned the High Court seeking to have Chebukati jailed for six months for denying him access to his office despite a court order allowing him back to office last month.

The poll body CEO through his lawyer Andrew Wandabwa, informed the court that due process was not followed in suspending him.

Decision ineffectual

He also claims that Chebukati and his team purported to suspend him in a manner intended to otherwise render the decision of the court ineffectual.

Chiloba wants the court to set aside the decision made by the commission in a letter that sent him on compulsory leave for a second time despite a court order for his reinstatement on June 14.

“We have never been given opportunity to defend the report,” said Wandabwa.

Chiloba argues there are only three commissioners remaining at the commission and if indeed a plenary was held on that day as alleged in the letter, then any decision arrived at the meeting has no force of law because a minimum of five commissioners are required to constitute a valid plenary.

IEBC said they were justified in suspending Chiloba for the second time, pending the conclusion of an internal audit, which has been going on. The commission says the application by Chiloba raises new cause of action as the suspended CEO cannot demand the report that indicted him.

The case will be mentioned on July 19 for further directions.

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