House team in dilemma over debate on Mutunga

By: JOHN NGIRACHU

A confrontation on paper between Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and the Public Accounts Committee has MPs thinking how they can interrogate him without disrespecting his position.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi is this week expected to give the debate some direction with a ruling on whether a report critical of Dr Mutunga and his leadership of the Judiciary can be debated without his input.

The Speaker deferred debate on the report by the PAC on a special audit of the Judiciary until after his ruling on Wednesday or Thursday.

He gave hints on what the House should not compromise on and also criticised Dr Mutunga for sharing his letters to the leadership of the National Assembly with the media.

“This matter could have been handled differently had the Chief Justice merely written to me or to the chairman of the PAC. You cannot write a letter and take it to the media,” said Mr Muturi.

Mr Muturi said that from the trail of correspondence between the Chief Justice and PAC, it was clear he was given whatever he asked for from the committee, which also took the unusual step of sending him the questions he was required to answer.

The correspondence shows the Chief Justice dilly-dallied on whether to meet the PAC.

At first, he said a scheduled date for the meeting was not feasible because he was attending another event.

A NO-SHOW

He also asked the committee to state exactly what it wanted to know in its interview with him.

After the committee replied and gave him a list of questions, he failed to show up on the date.

The PAC then went ahead and compiled the report without his input.

Although it did not find him responsible for corruption at the Judiciary, the House team painted the picture of a leader unable to offer strategic direction.

On October 27, Dr Mutunga had written to the Speaker and copied the letter to Majority Leader Aden Duale, Minority Leader Francis Nyenze, Public Accounts Committee Chairman Nicholas Gumbo, Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Chairman Samuel Chepkong’a, Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Mutava Musyimi and the Clerk of the National Assembly.

He criticised the PAC report, saying it was full of inaccuracies.

Mr Duale then asked for the Speaker’s direction before debate begins on Thursday.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION