As AG, Muturi ‘to seek scrutiny of State contracts’
Former National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi wants the government to restructure the contract-signing regime.
Muturi, who appeared before the committee vetting nominees for Cabinet secretary positions, said the office of the Attorney General (which he is to head) must be fully involved in any contract negotiations. This will save the taxpayer billions of shillings lost due to contract breaches, he said.
Muturi claimed the government has lost several cases due to negligence. If cases are planned well, and adequate advice sought from the AG’s office, it would save the government huge sums of money, he said.
“On lost cases we will deal with a matter now and then later someone will appeal, especially in an adversarial system like ours. The government should be alive to the fact that it can win or lose a case. But some cases are lost due to negligence and lack of adequate preparation,” he said.
In his statement before the committee, Muturi said once appointed he would ask the government to seek advice from his office before signing any contract. “Some of these contracts, like those in construction areas, are so hot… to avoid losses, let them come to our offices,” he said.
On withdrawal of court cases, Muturi declined to give his stand on the move by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji to drop a litany of cases last week. “Since the reasons for the actions taken by the DPP were not made public, it would be premature to start ascribing a particular position.”
He, however, said the DPP is empowered to commence, take over and drop criminal charges, except those before a court martial as stipulated in Article 157 of the Constitution.
He, however, said cases should not be taken to court on the basis of political witch hunt but on key evidence.
Muturi clarified: “With regard to abuse of our criminal justice system, it is only fair to note that even if the AG is involved, criminal undertakings are done by the DPP, who is not under any instructions from any authority. But because we are working collaboratively, it is important that we know that people may differ on any matter and it is important that we accept divergent views,” he said.
On the position of Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), which the courts ruled should not proceed, Muturi was categorical that court judgements should be obeyed. His sentiments followed a decision of the Public Service Commission to proceed with interviews despite the decision of the court.
He said he would endeavour to strengthen the AG’s office by enhancing the pay of the staff to ensure they match those of the office of DPP and the Judiciary. On the sibling rivalry between the upper and lower houses, Muturi said that was neither here nor there as the roles of the two houses were well defined.