The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has moved to the High Court to have lawmakers barred from representing public officers accused of corruption, in a move that is likely to be highly contested by parliamentarians.
The DPP, Noordin Hajji made a fresh application before High Court Judge James Wakiaga seeking to have lawmakers locked out of representing graft suspects as clients in courts, on the grounds of conflict of interest with their oversight roles.
In an application through Special Prosecutor James Kihara, the DPP sought to have James Orengo barred from representing Busia Governor Sospeter Ojamong in a corruption case. DPP says Orengo, being an elected Senator and the Minority leader of the Senate, is a full-time State Officer who is required by law not to engage in any other gainful employment.
The DPP also sought to extend the ban to other legislators among them Senators Okong’o Omogeni-Nyamira County, Kipchumba Murkomen- Elgeyo-Marakwet County, Irungu Kang’ata-Murang’a County, Mutula Kilonzo Junior-Makueni County and Members of Parliament Daniel Maanzo- Makueni Constituency and Peter Kaluma-Homa Bay Town Constituency.
The move followed Siaya Senator Orengo’s move to represent former Nairobi County Governor, Dr. Evans Kidero. Special prosecutor James Kihara objected to Senator James Orengo’s legal representation of former Governor Kidero in a Kshs.58 million graft case saying he is an elected senator and the Minority leader of the Senate.
On April, 27, 2021, High Court Judge Eric Ogolla, sitting in Mombasa ruled that State Officers should not represent public officers accused of corruption. He cited conflict of interest in their oversight role as the reason for barring persons holding elective positions from legally representing graft suspects who are civil servants.
The ruling was made in a case in which Siaya Senator James Orengo appeared for former Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director Daniel Manduku, who was accused of impropriety in the award of a Kshs.244.8 million tender.