The High Court on Thursday spared three top State officials jail terms and, instead, fined them Sh200,000 each for disobeying orders to release fiery lawyer Miguna Miguna.
Justice George Odunga, who on Wednesday cited Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, Immigration Principal Secretary Gordon Kihalang’wa and Inspector-General of Police Joseph Boinnet for contempt of court, ruled that the money be deducted from their April salaries.
“The respondents are to each pay Sh200,000 personally from their salaries and the deputy registrar is to ensure the payment is effected,” he said.
RULE OF LAW
The judge said the matter before him only related to contempt even though the officials’ disobedience showed that they were not suitable to hold public office.
“If they are unable to obey orders widely publicised, it is not proper for them to be in office yet their positions are of high importance to this country,” the judge said.
“Courts must reflect the rule of law, stamp authority and contribute to principles of governance but the three have not adhered to their oath of office and have acted in a manner which does not inspire any confidence.”
WARRANTS OF ARREST
The judge said he could not issue warrants of arrest against them since the three are in charge of security in the country and are most likely to disobey junior officers if they were to be placed before them.
He pointed out that the most appropriate punishment for them would be declaring that they have violated the constitution by failing to adhere to the rule of law.
“I am surprised that even in such a highly publicised matter, they would still avoid court. They have clearly displayed arrogance of the highest degree,” Justice Odunga, who spared State lawyer Charles Mutinda from punishment despite pleas by lawyers representing Dr Miguna, ruled.
“Mr Mutinda’s efforts were made difficult by his clients. I am, however, not prepared to elevate his conduct. I am also not admitting that his clients were unaware of these proceedings,” he said.
Lawyers representing Dr Miguna had accused Mr Mutinda of being dishonest to the court when he said he was unable to reach the three so he could let them know they were required in court.
While asking the judge to send a strong signal against the disobedience of court orders, the lawyers claimed Mr Mutinda did not make any effort to find the top bosses.
Dr John Khaminwa, for Dr Miguna, warned that the action of the three officials could attract the attention of international tribunals since the dispute was political.
“Do not blink an eye with these characters; they have never been elected into office and should be investigated for their conduct.
"The sentences will constitute a rich history to this country that impunity must be punished,” lawyer James Orengo, also the Siaya Senator, said.