Court bars Samburu governor from reconstituting County Public Service Board
Samburu Governor Jonathan Lelelit has suffered a blow in his bid to reconstitute the County Public Service Board.
A Nakuru Court has stopped the governor from appointing the board chairperson and a member.
Governor Lelelit had nominated Mr Paul Lolmingani and Linus Lenolngenje to fill the positions, after suspending the current bearers over graft allegations.
However, Nakuru Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge David Nderitu issued orders restraining the governor from recruiting a new chairperson and one member of the board.
The judge further stayed the operationalisation of the selection panel, nominated by the governor on October 28, 2022, pending the hearing of a petition filed by current officials.
In the petition, the officials sued Governor Lelelit and County Assembly Speaker Fred Lekoren for initiating an unlawful process of recruiting a new chair and member on October 28, 2022.
They informed the court that they were appointed as chairperson and member of Samburu County PSB on July 18, 2019, but were suspended on the same day, yet their contract was supposed to run to July 15, 2025.
They maintained that they are in office legally since their contract was yet to expire.
The governor, however, filed an application to challenge the petition, seeking to be allowed to appoint a new chairperson and one member of the board.
He said the two were on April 2, 2019, arraigned before court and charged with various offences of corruption and economic crimes.
The governor argued that since the case was pending before the court, the two were not eligible for appointment, thus the suspension.
“Their appointment was illegal. In fact, the court barred them from accessing office during their trial,” submitted the governor
He also claimed that they neither took oath of office nor signed leadership and integrity codes.
Justice Nderitu, in his ruling, dismissed the application noting that the two officials were eligible to hold the offices.
According to the judge, the legal process of dismissing the officials from work needed to be followed even when they have a pending case in court.
“The county cannot assume that the criminal charges bar the two from offices, the governor must ensure administrative steps are taken to dismiss them from work, before carrying out new appointments,” the judge ruled.