Appointment of new Controller of Budget challenged in court
Activist Okiya Omtatah on Friday moved to labour court seeking to quash the appointment of Margaret Nyang’ate Nyakang’o as the Controller of budget.
In his petition, Omtatah is also seeking the court to issue a temporary order prohibiting Nyakang’o from accessing the office of the Controller of Budget and also from executing the mandate of the Controller of budget.
The move by the activist comes after Nyakang'o was sworn in on Wednesday sworn in by Chief Justice David Maraga at the Supreme Court Building in Nairobi.
“Nyakang’o does not meet the mandatory minimum constitutional qualifications in the constitution for appointment to the position of controller of budget,” Omtatah said in his petition.
Nyakang’o on Wednesday replaced Agnes Odhiambo whose eight-year term ended on August 27.
The petition comes despite the Finance and National Planning Committee tabling in its report on Tuesday that they established Nyakang’o is suitable for the job after her vetting last week.
According to Omtatah: “She does not have extensive knowledge in public finance, acquired through extensive training in public finance and practical experience in public finance management.”
He revealed that Nyakang’o does not have at least 10 years’ experience in the auditing public finance management acquired through continuous working in auditing public finance management of a whole-of-government.
This includes possessing the minimum professional qualifications requirements set out for the positions of Auditor General under the National Audit Act.
“The fact that she has worked for 10 years at the Kenya Bureau of Statistics as Director Finance and Administration from November 2008 to October 2018 does not mark at least 10 years’ experience in auditing public finance management,” the application reads.
Omtatah says that Nyakang’os training of accounts and finance management is not the same as training in public finance and adds that such a person would only be employed in accounts department of any ministry and departmental agency of government.
The activist therefore points out that he process used for Nyakang’os recruitment and appointment is a travesty in law, her appointment is null and void and legally incurable in its entirety.
“Should the flawed appointment of Nyakang’o not be suspended by the court, an unqualified person will take over the all-important office and that will expose the public to grave risks given the powers and functions of the office,” Omtatah says.
In the same application, the National Assembly has also been sued for not addressing the composition of the committee and its capacity of its membership to recruit the Controller of Budget.
The activist has also faulted CJ Maraga for rushing to swear in Nyakango into office.
"Omtatah reasonably suspects that the impugned actions of the chief justice constitute corrupt conduct on his part in violation of the constitution as they were influenced by nepotism, favoritism, other improper motives or corrupt practices,” court files read.