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Ruto signs new law granting AG powers to hire own staff

Thursday, April 25th, 2024 05:00 | By
President William Ruto and Attorney General Justin Muturi. PHOTO/X (@WilliamsRuto)

Office of the Attorney-General will now operate independently and have powers to recruit own employees after President William Ruto assented to the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2024.

The new law has established an Advisory Board chaired by the Attorney General to replace the Public Service Commission (PSC)  in the employment of personnel at the AG’s office.

Attorney-General Justin Muturi had lamented that bureaucracies involved in the recruitment of staff by PSC was affecting their operations and hence the need to give the office powers to hire by amending the Attorney General Act of 2012.

Muturi, in his submissions, said the current structural design in his office hinders its ability to recruit and retain experienced State counsels to support its operations and effectively implement its mandate.

Advisory Board shall consist of the AG (chairperson) and Principal Secretaries responsible for Public Service and National Treasury and Chairperson of the Public Service Commission “or a representative designated in writing by the Chairperson.”

At a function held at State House, Nairobi, President Ruto signed into law the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2024, that amends various provisions of 16 Acts of Parliament.

In attendance were Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula and Muturi among others.

Changes at the AG’s office aim to address the issue of inadequate personnel to fulfil its functions, stemming from poor terms of employment for State Counsel and absence of a comprehensive scheme of service for the officers.

In a bold step towards environmental protection and conservation, the Bill amends the Public Holidays Act, renaming Utamaduni Day as Mazingira Day to be observed on October 10 yearly.

 Mazingira Day will be a day for all Kenyans to engage in environmental conservation activities, including tree-planting and growing. This move is in line with the government’s push to accelerate the 10-year 15 billion tree-planting programme that includes forest, wetlands and rangeland restoration.

The Traffic Act has also been amended to incorporate use of technology in the management of minor traffic offences.

Economic safety

 The Value Added Tax Act has also been amended to remove denatured ethanol from the list of VAT-exempt supplies. This creates an economic safety net and competitive edge for local denatured ethanol manufacturers, particularly millers and sugar manufacturers, who face challenges with cheaper imports.

It also exempts the supply of gas meters from VAT to enhance access to clean energy by low-income households

 On the Universities Act, the amendment gives the President power to establish more than one specialised degree-awarding institution specialising in national security issues. In another amendment, the National Intelligence Service has been exempted from the application of the Employment Act, mirroring exemptions granted to other national security organs.

Another amendment on the Industrial Training Act aligns the remittance date of the training levy with PAYE remittance to the Kenya Revenue Authority, aiming to boost employer compliance.

This is meant to enhance KRA collections, which will fund intern wages and support technical and vocational education training and higher education operations.

To streamline the administration of justice, the new law amends the Oaths and Statutory Declarations Act to replace the Registrar of the High Court with the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary as the custodian of the roll of commissioners and give powers to administer oaths to the registrar and deputy registrar of superior and subordinate courts.

Similarly, the Advocates Act has been amended to replace the Registrar of the High Court with the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary as well as give the Council of the Law Society of Kenya additional powers to make rules on the admission of advocates to the Bar.

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