The Employment Court has temporarily stopped the planned recruitment for the position of Auditor-General.
Justice Stephen Radido issued orders barring the selection panel from giving effect to an advertisement published on December 17, pending the determination of a case filed by activist Okiya Omtatah.
In the petition, Mr Omtatah argued that the panel does not have the powers to reject the candidates who had already been shortlisted, claiming that the decision to re-advertise the position was unconstitutional.
On December 11, 2019, the chairperson of the panel, who is also the chairperson of Public Service Commission, Mr Stephen Kirogo, announced that they had been unable to pick any candidate for nomination as the Auditor-General and re-advertised the position.
Mr Kirogo said the candidates met the technical thresholds including academic qualifications but scored poorly in independence, diplomacy and tach test, which were key considerations.
But Mr Omtatah said the three requirements imposed by the panel could not be used to bar candidates who meet the eligibility threshold set in law.
“That where persons meet the eligibility thresholds set in the Constitution and legislation, the selection panel does not have the power to decline to select three candidates from those interviewed for the position and forward the names to the President as required by law,” he said.
Mr Edward Ouko, the first holder of the office, was appointed in August 2011 for a non-renewable term of eight (8) years, which ended in August 2019.
Mr Omtatah said the law does not provide for a midway cancellation of a recruitment process and that there can be no re-advertisement until all the three names have been rejected by Parliament.
Lack of an substantive Auditor-General has led to the failure of State institutions from including Central Bank to publish their audited financial results for the 2018/2019.
Others include the Capital Markets Authority, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC, KenGen #ticker:KEGN and East African Portland Cement Company.