Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) wants Siaya senator James Orengo barred from representing former Transport CS Michael Kamau in court.
The former minister is facing charges of abuse of office and willful failure to comply with applicable procedures and guidelines relating to the management of public funds.
The charge sheet indicates that on March 15, 2008, Kamau willfully failed to comply with the set rules by ignoring the design of Kamukuywa-Kaptama-Kapsokwony-Sirisia road done by Engiconsult Limited at a cost of Sh33,303,600. He entered into a memorandum under which the resident engineer redesigned the road without due process.
In an application filed in the Anti-Corruption Court, special prosecutor James Kihara argued that the senator’s presence is a conflict of interest.
The prosecutor wants Kamau to engage counsel who is not a state officer. The court heard that Orengo is a fulltime state officer who should not engage in gainful employment during his tenure.
“Though he is entitled to practice law, such practice should not conflict with the public interest that he is under duty to protect,” said Kihara.
“I believe where the interest of a client conflicts with the public interest, the public interest must override and therefore the conflicted counsel must cease from acting for that client.”
Should the court not bar Members of Parliament and Senators from practicing during their tenure, Kihara asked that the court blocks them from appearing in any matter where public interest conflicts with private interest.
In April, a Mombasa High Court barred Orengo from representing former Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Managing Director Daniel Manduku in a Sh244 million procurement graft case against him.
Justice Ogola durected that state officers who double up as lawyers should not represent the suspects as the acts amount to conflict of interest.
“High Court sitting in Mombasa has ruled that state officers should not represent public officers accused of corruption because they oversight them,” the Noordin Haji-led directorate said.
“Justice Ogola ruled that such participation by state officers as counsels for accused persons in such proceedings would be in conflict with their statutory and Constitutional duty.”