Police asked to probe ‘fraudulent orders’ in Nairobi assembly clerk dispute

Jacob Ngwele speaking outside Milimani Law Court Nairobi on July 24, 2020.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Minority Whip Peter Imwatok has invited police to investigate “fraudulent consent orders” entered in court regarding the office. 
  • Previous office holder, Jacob Ngwele, has termed Imwatok's letter and actions as propaganda.

The dispute over the Nairobi County Assembly clerk office, which began in 2014, has taken a new turn. 

Reawakening the row pitting Mr Jacob Ngwele and Mr Edward Gichana, Minority Whip Peter Imwatok has invited police to investigate “fraudulent consent orders” entered in court regarding the office. 

Mr Imwatok said there is a plot to have Mr Ngwele take the position ahead of the determination of a case concerning the true office holder next month.

He claimed that a new consent has been entered by some individuals, including Mr Ngwele, for Mr Ngwele to make a return to office without consulting the assembly and the assembly service board.

The Makongeni MCA further cast aspersions over a consent order entered in the Employment and Labour Relations Court in ELRC petition number 194 of 2019.

He claimed that the consent order does not exist and has been contested severally but the court has refused to listen to the contestations.

Recipe for chaos

“For the record, there was never any consent entered into between parties in the said matter on October 30, 2019 for Mr Ngwele to come back to the assembly as the clerk,” a letter by Mr Imwatok dated September 17, 2020 reads in part.

"I know this for a fact because I was in court on the said date and even more importantly, I have had the benefit to peruse the file and confirmed that there was no such consent agreed between parties,” he added.

Mr Imwatok argued that the return of Mr Ngwele will be a recipe for chaos at the assembly wondering why parties would not let the court to determine the issue of Mr Ngwele’s employability.

“I therefore request your good offices to move with speed to investigate the judge on record as of October 30, 2019 in this matter with the sole purpose of establishing why he purportedly issued consent orders without the consent of parties and thereafter take appropriate action for abuse of public office,” continued the letter copied to the office of the Judiciary Ombudsman and principal judge of the Employment and Labour Relations court.

Substantive clerk

Reached for comment, Mr Ngwele termed Imwatok's letter and actions as propaganda, insisting he is still the substantive clerk pending the hearing of his court case on October 16, 2020. 

"The letter is just propaganda by Mr Imwatok who thinks I am colluding with the new Speaker to try and settle the case before the judgement comes up in court," said Mr Ngwele. 

The battle for the occupancy of the clerk's office has been raging since 2018 when Mr Ngwele and former Speaker Beatrice Elachi differed resulting in one court battle after another.  

The rivalry between the two, which also roped in Mr Imwatok, escalated last year with the return to office of Ms Elachi. 

This led to suspension from office of Mr Ngwele with two acting clerks taking charge before the appointment of Mr Gichana as the substantive clerk in June. 

The appointment was however successfully challenged in court by Mr Ngwele who obtained orders barring Mr Gichana from assuming office. 

The matter will be decided by the Employment and Labour Relations court on October 16. 

However,  Mr Gichana has filed for an appeal with the Court of Appeal to reverse an order by the Employment and Labour relations court staying his appointment as clerk. 

Last week the court instructed Mr Gichana to file written submissions and that Mr Ngwele responds before the case is heard and determined.