AG taken to task over changes to vetting law
Posted Thursday, June 28 2012 at 23:30
- But Githu defends lawmakers and states that talks had been initiated to resolve impasse
Attorney-General Githu Muigai was on Thursday hard pressed to explain why Parliament had transferred part of the mandate of the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board to the Judicial Service Commission.
Prof Muigai was also asked to explain why the Bill on integrity and leadership was yet to be enacted months before the next General Election.
Lawyers demanded to know why the State Law Office had allowed the unconstitutional amendments and stated that it was illegal to have the magistrates vetted by a team not constituted for that purpose.
Vetting board chairman Sharad Rao argued that altering their mandate would affect their work.
“We should have the mandate to vet the judges and the magistrates. We are therefore concerned about these amendments,” Mr Rao said at a luncheon organised by the Law Society of Kenya.
LSK chairman Eric Mutua urged the AG to find a way of reversing Parliament’s actions.
Mr Mutua said the amendments would force Parliament to change the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Act, which says the exercise must be carried out by a panel that includes foreigners.
There are no foreigners in the JSC.
“We also feel uncomfortable that two agencies will be undertaking the same exercise in a parallel manner. There is a possibility that a judicial officer who is not satisfied with one of the processes can go to court and complain of discrimination,” Mr Mutua told the AG.
Prof Muigai however defended himself, arguing that the controversial Bill was not the work of his office but was generated through ministries.
He added that after consultations with Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, CIC chairman Charles Nyachae and CIOC chairman Abdikadir Mohammed, they were in agreement that there should be further consultations.