JLAC adjourns as IEBC Commissioner Francis Wanderi withdraws from proceedings

Tuesday, November 29th, 2022 12:16 | By
JLAC adjourns as IEBC Commissioner Francis Wanderi withdraws from proceedings
IEBC Commissioner Francis Wanderi addressing the press at a past function. PHOTO/Courtesy

Parliamentary investigations into the conduct of four embattled electoral commissioners suffered a setback yet again after one of the accused officials withdrew from the proceedings on Tuesday, November 29.

Through his lawyer Ndoro Gichamba, Commissioner Francis Wanderi told the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) committee that he could not continue with the proceedings because the petitioners had not supplied him with evidence in the matter before the House.

The lawyer said participating in the proceedings without the documents would be prejudicial to his client. He declined to respond to the allegations against him.

"We will not be able to proceed in light of the lack of documentation to help us with our defence," Gichamba stated adding that the impartiality of the committee was in doubt.

While protesting against the withdrawal, JLAC members led by South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro accused Wanderi and his colleagues of employing delay tactics to frustrate the committee's investigations.

"I am afraid there is a sequence and a series of what I would call delay tactics being displayed by these respondents. Ideally, they are looking for every avenue, mostly technicalities, to challenge the investigations," he said adding that the committee's time in investigating the matter is limited.

"If the respondents were serious they ought to have defended or allowed themselves to be investigated with the documents within their reach and allow us to write our report. We have not put the defendants in their defence. This is a mere investigation," he said.

JLAC Chairperson George Gitonga adjourned the sittings to 2:00 pm, when commissioner Justus Nyang'aya is expected to face the panel.

Earlier the committee was forced to push hearings for Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera to 4pm, after the respondent's lawyer Apollo Mboya told the committee that he did not get the petition documents to prepare himself on time.

Commissioners Cherera, Wanderi, Nyang'aya and Irine Masit were summoned to appear before JLAC for a hearing on four petitions seeking their removal from office for, among others, gross misconduct and abuse of office.

The four rejected the presidential results announced by IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati on August 15, claiming the final tallying of the results was opaque.

The four also filed affidavits supporting Azimio la Umoja - One Kenya coalition's unsuccessful petition challenging President William Ruto’s win at the Supreme Court.

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