Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati and two other commissioners risk jail after a judge directed them to explain why they should not be cited for contempt.
The judge said Mr Chebukati and commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu should show cause why contempt proceedings should not be commenced against them for disobeying a court order directing them to reinstate the agency’s CEO Ezra Chiloba.
Through lawyer Andrew Wandabwa, the suspended CEO told the court he was yet to resume his duties despite the court order.
Mr Chiloba accused Mr Chebukati of orchestrating his removal because of differences on issues such as assignment of duties to staff, the procurement of election kits and ballot papers, in addition to the manner in which last year’s presidential election was conducted.
In its defence, the commission said Mr Chiloba's suspension was justified, pending the conclusion of an internal audit.
The commission said most of the people con-ducting the audit were answerable to Mr Chiloba and might be intimidated in the process.
Mr Chiloba, however, said he is yet to be served with the preliminary report de-spite adverse findings being made against him.
In the report, the commission cited possible misappropriation of more than Sh1 billion during last year’s repeat presidential election.
The court also heard that there was possible gross breaches of the Public Finance Management Act.
“It is, therefore, imperative and in public interest that the internal audit be completed as the commission owes the public a duty to use the public resources allocated to it appropriately,” said Mr Chebukati, who denied disobeying the court order.
He said after a meeting, commission members resolved that the ongoing procurement audit by both internal and external auditors is yet to be completed and the presence of Mr Chiloba might interfere with it.
“The members, therefore, resolved to suspend the petitioner for three months pending the completion of the comprehensive audit of all major procurements relating to the elections of August 8, 2017 and fresh presidential elections held on October 26, 2017,” he said.
The court had last month reinstated Mr Chiloba only for the commission to send him on another compulsory leave, a few hours later.
Mr Chebukati said the suspension was done in good faith.
The court will rule on other prayers sought by Mr Chiloba on July 19.