Puzzle as state officer sued for holding eight public offices

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Puzzle as state officer sued for holding eight public offices

A legal suit has been filed by Dr. Magare Gikenyi against Jennifer Gitiri, the Deputy Director of Asset Recovery Agency, Legal Services, and Corporation Secretary.

The accusation is that Gitiri is occupying eight public offices, and Dr. Gikenyi contends that she holds five of these positions, preventing other Kenyans from having the opportunity to serve in those roles.

Dr. Gikenyi is seeking an order from the High Court to prohibit Gitiri from serving as a Board Member or employee in the Council of Legal Education, Kenya Law Reporting Council (KLRC), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Witness Protection Agency (WPA), and Victim Protection Agency (VPA).

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Additionally, Dr. Gikenyi is urging the court to issue an order preventing Jennifer Gitiri from receiving allowances for her participation on the boards of those institutions until the case is heard and determined.

In his constitutional petition, Dr. Gikenyi is seeking a court order that would prohibit the five public institutions mentioned from allowing Gitiri to serve as a board member or employee, as well as from providing her with allowances for such roles.

“A conservatory orders be issued against Jennifer Gitiri prohibiting her from sitting as a board member and or employee of the Interested Parties (Council of Legal Education, Kenya Law Reporting Council , Kenya Revenue Authority, Witness Protection Agency and Victim Protection Agency and drawing any allowance for such sitting pending hearing and determination of the petition,” Dr Gikenyi says.

According to court documents, Jennifer Gitiri currently holds several positions, including Deputy Director, Legal Services, and Corporation Secretary of the Witness Protection Agency. She is also the Acting Chief Executive Officer and Acting Secretary of the Chairman Council of Legal Education.

Gitiri serves on the Board of Directors of the Kenya Law Reporting Council as a Representative and occupies a similar role on the Board of Directors of the Kenya Revenue Authority as a Representative of KLRC.

Furthermore, she sits on the Board of Directors of the Witness Protection Agency and the Victim Protection Agency as a Representative of KLRC.

Notably, the Deputy Director of the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) also holds a position on the Board of Directors of two private entities, namely Living Water and ACAMS East Africa Chapter.

Dr. Gikenyi contends that such a scenario is unacceptable and suggests favoritism and nepotism.

He argues that the Attorney General’s appointment of Gitiri to five different public boards as a representative of the AG, while simultaneously holding four other substantive public appointments as a full-time employee of the Witness Protection Agency and the Council of Legal Education, is both inconceivable and raises concerns about fairness and impartiality.

“For one to qualify to sit on a Board of Directors as a representative of the Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya, the person so appointed must be in active and direct employment of the Office of the Attorney General,” says the doctor.

Dr. Gikenyi further contends that the Attorney General does not meet the qualifications to serve on any board of directors. According to his argument, the AG is a full-time employee of the Asset Recovery Agency under a contract of employment as Deputy Director, Legal Services, and Corporation Secretary.

The Asset Recovery Agency is recognized as a distinct entity separate from the Office of the Attorney General. This agency possesses the authority to sue and be sued in its own name, having been established under Section 53 of the Proceeds of Crime and Anti-Money Laundering Act No. 9 of 2009.

Therefore, Dr. Gikenyi asserts that the AG’s simultaneous appointment to multiple boards raises concerns about the appropriateness of such appointments given the distinct roles and responsibilities of the Asset Recovery Agency.

“I wish to point out that Gitiri has no outstanding skill or extraordinary intellect that makes her better qualified than close to 800 State Counsels working in the Attorney General’s chambers who can and should similarly be appointed to public boards as a representative of the Attorney General”, he states in court documents.

Dr. Gikenyi alleges that Jennifer Gitiri has been receiving salaries and allowances from the public treasury through her occupancy of the eight public offices. He argues that this practice is both unfair and illegal.

Additionally, Dr. Gikenyi asserts that the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Victim Protection Agency have failed to take corrective action in response to this apparent violation.

He suggests that the lack of intervention may be attributed to alleged intimidation and collusion involving the Attorney General. According to Dr. Gikenyi, the failure to address these issues raises concerns about the integrity of the appointments and the adherence to legal and ethical standards.

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Puzzle as state officer sued for holding eight public offices

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