AG castigated over letter to duty judge

Bernice Mbugua @BerniceMuhindi

High Court judge Winfrida Onkwani yesterday criticised the Attorney General (AG) Kihara Kairuki (pictured) for writing to the duty judge seeking to be heard before the court  issues directions in the Finance Act, 2018, suit filed by activist Okiya Omtatah.

Justice Onkwani said such communication does not promote the independence of the court, terming it a form of  interference.

She said the letter should have been addressed to the High Court Deputy Registrar and not to the judge handling the matter.

The letter, authored by Solicitor General Kennedy Ogeto, stated that the request was made in public interest surrounding  Act.

“The purpose of this letter, is to humbly and most respectfully request the court to accord the AG a hearing before it can consider granting any orders against him,” Ogeto had said in the letter.

Lawyers Chacha Odera and Charles Mutinda who were representing the AG in court yesterday, had to eat humble pie and apologise.

“It was not intentional for the solicitor general to interfere with the independence of this court. The letter was only written out of concern of orders which may have been given without hearing the AG,” said Chacha in court yesterday.

In the matter, Omtatah has sued the AG and the National Assembly over the Act  which was signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and gazetted on September 21.

Omtatah claims the Speaker of the National Assembly was wrong to present a “dead bill” to the President for assent because the Finance Bill, 2018,  died when it failed to garner two-thirds support of the Members of the National Assembly in a chaotic special sitting last week.

Justice Onkwani directed the respondents to file their replying affidavits and submissions by today.

The case will be heard on October 9.

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