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Reprieve for Governor Oparanya over audit summons

Friday August 05 2016
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Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya. FILE PHOTO |

By MAUREEN KAKAH

The High Court has temporarily shielded Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya from appearing before the Senate to answer audit queries.

High Court judge George Odunga issued the directive after the hearing of a case in which the governor is seeking to permanently stop his imminent arrest for failing to appear before the Senate’s County Public Accounts and Investments Committee.

“I will issue a ruling on August 17 but kindly tell the Senate not to do anything with this matter until then,” Justice Odunga said.

Through lawyer Peter Wanyama, Mr Oparanya sued the Senate, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Inspector-General of Police and the Attorney-General.

This is the second time he has sued seeking to stop his prosecution on a similar issue.

He claimed that the intended prosecution is malicious since an initial attempt did not succeed, having been stopped by court.

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He accused the Senate and Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale of publicly instigating his prosecution.

He argued that there are two pending cases on a similar matter and that he had even obtained reprieve orders allowing him not to appear before the Senate but the sued parties may have him arrested and charged.

However, the sued parties told the court that his case is aimed at derailing the Senate’s proceedings and that he ought to have taken the matter to the Court of Appeal because the High Court had already handled the matter.

Mr Oparanya was summoned to appear before the committee on July 19 to answer audit queries on Sh7.4 billion spent in the 2013/2014 financial year.

He claimed he responded to the request on July 14 but the committee went ahead to initiate a criminal case against him.

He sent his deputy Philip Kutima to represent him, but committee members said they wanted to deal with no one else but the governor, before directing the Inspector-General of Police to have Mr Oparanya arrested.

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