Justin Muturi.
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Justin Muturi: The Attorney-General who fell by his own sword

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Former Attorney General Justin Muturi.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

When Justin Bedan Njoka Muturi walked in for the vetting session at County Hall at 10.30am on Monday, October 17, 2022, he was on familiar ground as he was the head of the vetting team just a few months ago.

During the vetting session, chaired by National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang'ula, who was his classmate at the University of Nairobi, Mr Muturi acknowledged that the government sometimes lost cases, resulting in loss of taxpayers' money through legal fees.

He blamed laxity in the Attorney General's office. He told the committee that he would create an integrated case management system to ensure that the Attorney General was kept abreast of all ministerial business.

Sources in the corridors of power have always pointed out that Mr Muturi is a lonely man in the Attorney General's office as his advice is not sought on many occasions despite being the government's legal adviser.

On Thursday, July 11, a local daily published an article suggesting that the Attorney General's advice was not sought on key government decisions.

In particular, the article claimed that Muturi's office was not consulted on the deployment of the military during the protests against the Finance Bill 2024.

However, Mr Muturi issued a statement denying the allegations in the paper and urging the media to ensure that they always report the truth.

“The media must maintain accuracy and responsibility in their reporting to ensure that the truth is upheld,” Mr Muturi said in a statement.

Early this year, Mr Muturi distanced himself from the National Government Administration Laws (Amendment Bill), 2023 that among others was seeking to transfer the custodian of the Public Seal from his office to the Head of Public Service and creation of CAS posts saying it did not originate from Cabinet.

Ordinarily, the government when drafting a Bill upon approval in Cabinet would involve the Office of the Attorney General before approval for publication.

“…But on this Bill, I have not seen this process being followed…the Bill was at some point brought to the Attorney General…I know many people are asking us where this Bill came from but let me leave this matter to this committee,” Mr Muturi told MPs.

In October last year, while appearing before the National Assembly Energy committee that was inquiring about the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) which they believed was contributing to the high cost of power in the country, Mr Muturi said his office was not consulted.

“These agreements (PPAs) were never presented to the Attorney General for input and advice. Kenya Power directly negotiated and signed contracts with IPPs without the knowledge of the State Law Office,” Mr Muturi said.

He shocked the committee when he told MPs that his office was neither in possession of any of the PPAs nor had seen a copy of what Kenya Power signed with various IPPs despite the law requiring all government entities including State Corporation entering into contracts to seek legal clearance from the State.

Muturi served as the Speaker of the National Assembly for 11th and 12th Parliament between the periods of 2013-2022 and was the first speaker following the re-establishment of a bicameral Parliament under the 2010 constitution.

By joining the Ruto Cabinet, Mr Muturi had now served a full cycle of all the arms of the government as he had also served in the Judiciary as a magistrate between 1982 and 1992 before retiring to join politics.

He has also served in the legislature both as an MP for Siakago and as Speaker of the National Assembly.

To the surprise of many, Mr Muturi went against the wishes of his long-time political friend former President Uhuru Kenyatta and joined Dr Ruto’s presidential camp.

Just four days ago, Mr Muturi weighed in on the recent demonstration held by the young people saying the government will take their concerns seriously.

"Whether you are leaderless or party-less, we hear you and we will take it into account. Just give us time, and we will make changes that will benefit you as Gen Z." Mr Muturi said on Monday when he led the officers from his office in the monthly tree planting exercise at Ngong in Kajiado.