Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nairobi mayor leaves office over cemetery scandal

Nairobi mayor Geophrey Majiwa in court where he denied three counts of conspiring to defraud the City Council of Sh283 million October 26, 2010. He stepped aside to facilitate investigations into the scam October 28, 2010. FILE

Nairobi mayor Geophrey Majiwa in court where he denied three counts of conspiring to defraud the City Council of Sh283 million October 26, 2010. He stepped aside to facilitate investigations into the scam October 28, 2010. FILE 

By PETER LEFTIE

Embattled Nairobi mayor Geophrey Majiwa finally stepped aside Thursday following pressure from Local Government minister Musalia Mudavadi and the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (Kacc).

Mr Majiwa, who had earlier vowed not to step aside despite the corruption charges facing him, is said to have agreed to step aside after Mr Mudavadi informed him that he was a public officer and was therefore required to step aside until the corruption case he is facing is heard and determined.

“His Worship Mayor Geophrey Majiwa of the City Council of Nairobi has agreed to step aside upon a request by Hon. Musalia Mudavadi, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister and Minister for Local Government following the concurrence of the Attorney General that civic leaders are indeed public officers,” a statement from the deputy prime minister’s office read.

Mr Mudavadi based his directive to Mr Majiwa on Section 18 of the Transitional and Consequential Provisions in the new constitution, the Public Officer Ethics Act and the Anti Corruption and Economic Crimes Act.

Kacc director P.L.O Lumumba had earlier written to Mr Mudavadi asking him to direct Mr Majiwa to step aside until the corruption case is determined.

In a letter dated October 27, Mr Lumumba demanded that Mr Majiwa be suspended at half pay until the corruption charges facing him are determined.

The letter quoted the Anti Corruption and Economic Crimes Act which it says defines a public officer as “a member of the government, national assembly, local authority or any state corporation.”

Mr Mudavadi in turn wrote to the AG seeking legal advice on the matter. “The DPM stressed the urgency of constitutional interpretation in view of the fact that “The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission has written to my Ministry of Local Government requesting us to take “administrative action” on the basis of Section 62(1),” read Mr Mudavadi’s letter to the AG.

In his written advise, the AG stated that Chapter six of the Constitution does not only apply to persons who are appointed to a public office, but also applies to persons elected to office such as the President, Deputy President and a Member of Parliament.

Mr Majiwa was on Tuesday charged that on diverse dates between December and April last year he conspired, with others before court, to commit an offence of corruption by acquiring Sh283.2 million from the Ministry of Local Government purporting it to be the purchase price payable by the City Council for cemetery land at Mavoko Municipality, Machakos District.

The city boss denied four counts of conspiracy to defraud the government and willful neglect to perform his duty. He was also accused of failing to ascertain whether the city council had received or accepted any offer from Mr Henry Kilonzi who was to sell the land.

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