Court declines to reinstate suspended Homa Bay clerk

Wednesday January 23 2019

Bob Kephas

Suspended Homa Bay County Assembly Clerk Bob Kephas (right) during the swearing in ceremony of the Speaker in 2017. The High Court on January 23, 2019 dismissed an application by an activist seeking to have him stay in office. PHOTO | GEORGE ODIWUOR | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GEORGE ODIWUOR
By GEORGE ODIWUOR
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Suspended Homa Bay County Assembly Clerk Bob Kephas has suffered a blow after the High Court threw out his application seeking to be reinstated.

The suspended clerk, through an activist, moved to court to seek stay orders after he was accused of misappropriating Sh27.8 million in the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 financial years.

Mr Kephas was suspended in August 2018 after being charged in an anticorruption court.

One month later, an activist from Homa Bay, Mr Evance Omondi Otieno, moved to court under a certificate of urgency requesting the court to allow Mr Kephas to continue undertaking his duties as the clerk despite being charged in court.

DISCHARGE DUTIES

The activist also wanted the court to stop the Homa Bay County Assembly Service Board and the Speaker or any other person in the assembly from interfering with Mr Kephas as he discharged his duties.

Mr Otieno argued that the clerk should be allowed to continue with his job on grounds that he had not been proven guilty.

The clerk, alongside six others, was charged with embezzlement of public funds.

They were arraigned after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji directed the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to charge them.

SUSPENDED

This prompted the County assembly to suspend Mr Kephas and appoint Mr Daniel Kaudo to act as the clerk.

In the case, EACC and DPP were also included as interested parties.

Mr Kephas has since been in court and avoiding arrests as he seeks to find his way back to the assembly.

But during the ruling on Wednesday, of Homa Bay High Court Judge Joseph Karanjah dismissed the case on the grounds that the suspension of the clerk was done because of pending finalisation of the criminal case facing him in the anti-corruption.

Mr Karanjah argued that the court would not, therefore, invoke the provisions of the County Assemblies Service Act.

The judge said Mr Kephas was suspended in accordance with the anti-corruption and economic crimes law thus his rights were not infringed upon.

“A pubic officer or Sate officer who is charged with corruption or economic crime shall be suspended at half pay with effect from the date of the charge until the conclusion of the case,” the Judge ruled.