Mbugua in firing line over ‘Kangaroo court’

By: ERIC MATARA

The Senate Committee on Legal Affairs has summoned Governor Kinuthia Mbugua over abuse of office claims.

There are reports that Mr Mbugua runs a “Municipal Court” which he uses to harass hawkers and other leaders.

The summons come after Nominated Member of Nakuru County Assembly Margaret Wanjiku Kiiru wrote to the Senate on June 25 complaining that Mr Mbugua was running unlawful courts.

In the petition, The National Alliance Party MCA said the courts, established in 2013 after the general elections, had been used to detain leaders and harass and extort money from small-scale traders, particularly the youth, women and other vulnerable groups.

She said municipal enforcement officers prosecuting and overseeing operations in the courts had not been gazetted as investigative or judicial officials thus making it unclear as to who they were answerable to.

The MCA asked the Senate to investigate how the revenue collected by the courts was being used.

She also wants the Chief Justice to order the immediate closure of the municipal courts.

Ms Kiiru said the courts were being used by county government officials to intimidate hawkers during evictions from Nakuru town centre.

WITNESS STATEMENTS

On July 29, Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria appeared before the court and refused to plead to charges of dumping alcohol bottles and boxes in undesignated places.

The MP protested, saying the charge sheet bore the county government’s logo.

He added that that made him fear that he could not get proper justice.

According to the charge sheet, Mr Gikaria dumped the liquor, bottles and boxes at the KFA and Mburu Gichua roundabouts where they were set ablaze between July 11 and 16.

The court, however ordered the prosecution to provide the lawmaker with copies of witness statements and proceed with the hearing.

A repeal of the Local Governments Act after the promulgation of the Constitution on August 27, 2010 rendered city and municipal courts obsolete.

In March, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga recalled judicial officers previously assigned to the courts and directed that offences arising out of violations of county government by-laws be heard by a magistrate’s court, established within the framework and structure of the Judiciary

SOURCE: DAILY NATION