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Posted Thursday, May 13 2010 at 22:30

In Summary

  • Investigations launched into illegal addition to clause on basic rights in draft
  • Probe to target key State officials
  • Electoral Commission publishes referendum question
  • Two lawyers ask court to stop review process


A team of detectives from the Serious Crimes Unit and Cyber Crime Unit has been set up to investigate how illegal changes were sneaked into the proposed constitution. The latest development came as it emerged that more than five top officials in charge of various government departments responsible for the document were under scrutiny.

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Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere on Thursday confirmed that he had been requested to investigate the matter. “We received notification to investigate the case yesterday evening (Wednesday). We have set up a team of five officers to get to the bottom of the case,” said Mr Iteere.

Ill intentions

However, by Thursday evening, no one had recorded a statement in connection with the introduction of the clause in the Bill of Rights article that the Attorney General Amos Wako said was inserted by someone malicious or with ill intentions.

The investigation also coincides with publication by the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) of the referendum question and the rules that will guide the campaign and voting.

On Thursday, both proponents and opponents of the proposed constitution were united in demanding the arrest of those responsible for the illegal amendment, but they were also pointing fingers at each other. Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo spoke strongly pointing a finger at the office of the AG that bears legal responsibility for publication of government Bills.

The culprits, he said, “must be pursued, whoever and wherever they are, arrested, prosecuted, put in prison and the key thrown into Lake Victoria.” Apart from Mr Wako, other key officials at the State Law Office are Solicitor General Wanjuki Muchemi and Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko.

Another key office under scrutiny is the Ministry of State on the Office of the President responsible for Provincial Administration and Internal Security. The ministry, headed by Prof George Saitoti, is in charge of both the Government Press, which printed the faulty proposed constitution, and the National Security Intelligence Service that had unsuccessfully requested the amendments that appeared in the document.

Key officials here would be the minister, the Permanent Secretary Mr Francis Kimemia and the Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura. The Intelligence Service is headed by Brigadier Michael Gichangi while Government Printer is Mr Gitonga Rukaria, and deputised by Mr Sylvester Migwi.

Interviews with staff at the Government Printer revealed the AG’s office last week submitted the proposed constitution to the Government Printer in hard and soft copy. The first copies printed did not have the alteration, implying the “error” was introduced during printing.

The changes were introduced in Article 24 (1) (d) in the chapter on the Bill of Rights. The correct version reads: “The need to ensure that the enjoyment of rights and fundamental freedoms by any individual does not prejudice the rights and fundamental freedoms of others.”

National security

The altered one reads: “The need to ensure that the enjoyment of rights and fundamental freedoms by any individuals does not prejudice national security, the rights and fundamental freedoms of others.” The Government Press is not authorised to alter a document submitted for printing.

“If the client wants to make changes, he or she must write to the printer notifying him of the changes and the reasons. The printer retains a copy of the letter,” said a source. Mr Wako has denied authorising changes to the document before publication. Prof Saitoti, Mr Kimemia and Brig Gichangi could not be reached for comment. Speaking from the US, Mr Kilonzo laid the blame lay on the AG’s shoulders.

“The buck stops with the AG. The document should have been given better attention and security,” he said. He declared he would demand an audit trail of all the copies printed before his ministry pays the bill. The AG has said he submitted an error-free document to the Government Press after he and the PSC were satisfied there were no amendments




About SG

Secretary general of Chama Cha Mwananchi. This blog www.chamachamwananchi.wordpress.com, is based in Sweden.



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