Irrigation Board

Lawyer warns Irrigation Board Chair over existing court order suspending his re-appointment

Gitonga Mugambi

A law firm has warned Irrigation Board Chairman that there is a court order suspending his reappointment.

Lawyer David Riungu in a letter dated August 17/2020 says that there is a court order issued by Judge Hellen Wasilwa suspending Gitonga Mugambi’s reappointment for a three-year term.

He says that the matter was certified urgent in an application filed by Activist Okiya Omtatah on August 7, 2020.

“The Court issued Orders on 11th August 2020 granting leave to the applicant Omtatah, to have his Chamber Summons application to be heard during the High Court Vacation, marked the application as urgent and granted prayer two of the Notice of motion n Application”, the letter reads in part.

The letter says prayer two of the Notice of Motion sought to suspend the letter appointing Mugambi as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Irrigation Authority for a further term of three years effective as of August 1,2020.

Mugambi’s appointment had been recommended by the board of the National Irrigation Authority and the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation.

“As a consequence, thereof, the appointment of Mugambi as the Chief Executive officer stands suspended”, Riungu states in the letter.

Last week, the Employment and Labor Relations Court judge Hellen Wasilwa suspended the reappointment of Mugambi as CEO of the National Irrigation Authority.

Judge Wasilwa, sitting in Nairobi, halted the reappointment pending hearing of a case filed by activist Okiya Omtatah against Water Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki and the National Irrigation Board.

“The applicant has proved there is an arguable case and therefore directs it be heard interpartes hearing on August 25, 2020,” the Judge ruled.

Omtatah claimed CS Kariuki through a letter dated June 23 purported to act on the Board’s recommendation to reappoint Mugambi.

The activist asked the court to declare the action as null and void since there is no valid board in office since the terms of members appointed under the repealed Act by the President expired in 2018.

He stated that the only independent member of the board is Eng. Joshua Toro, who was appointed by the President as Chairperson for a three-year term beginning January 9, 2019.

The court was told that the board ought to have to have nine members to make such a recommendation.

Mugambi was reportedly appointed in May 2016 in an acting capacity pending a competitive recruitment of the substantive office holder.

In August 2017 Mugambi was confirmed in the position for a term of three years without being subjected to a transparent, competitive, inclusive, and merit-based recruitment process open to public participation, the petitioner told the court.

Omatatah said Mugambi’s appointment was done contrary to the Public Service Commission Act 2017.

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