Employment court bars fresh recruitment process for new Auditor General

Justice Stephen Radido of the Employment and labor court

Justice Stephen Radido of the Employment and Labor court issued orders barring the selection panel from conducting a fresh shortlisting of new candidates for the Auditor General position. The judgement was made pursuant to a petition filed before the Employment and labor court.

The petition had been filed by Okiya Omtatah under certificate of urgency. The activist claimed that it was dishonest for the Selection Panel to reject the very names which they had previously shortlisted for the job. Moreover, the activist argued that the panel did not have the powers to revoke the shortlisted candidates hence their decision to re-advertise for the position was unconstitutional if not ultravires

Mr. Omtatah stated that the considerations imposed by the Selection panel were not valid enough to bar the shortlisted candidates who had meet the eligibility threshold as set out in law arguing that the law only provides for re-advertisement of job positions if all the names have been rejected by the parliament. Consequently, the selection panel erred in law by cancelling the recruitment midway.

“That where persons meet the eligibility thresholds set in the Constitution and legislation, the selection panel does not have the power to decline to select three candidates from those interviewed for the position and forward the names to the President as required by law. ” he said.

The former Auditor General, Mr. Edward Ouko retired in August 2019. The selection panel led by chairperson of the Public Service Commission, Stephen Karogo, had already forwarded three names to State House. However, on December 11, 2019 they revoked the forwarded names saying that no candidate among the 17 interviewed had qualified for the job.

Mr. Stephen Karogo stated that the candidates had met the technical requirements including the necessary academic qualifications. Nonetheless, they had scored poorly in tests of independence and diplomacy which were key considerations.

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