STORY by IVY KEZIAH
Kisumu County Clerk sentenced to one month in prison with his assistant or pay a fine of Sh. 200, 000 after being found in contempt. Sitting in a Kisumu Industrial court, Lady Justice Helen Wasilwa said that the evidence presented before her was enough to prove that the two went against a court order they were aware of.
I have gone through the evidence presented before me, and there is no doubt that the two respondents were served with a court order. I therefore found them guilty for defying this court, said Wasilwa.
Owen Ojuok and his deputy Nicholas Okolla will begin their prison sentence immediately after Wasilwa denied an application by the defense to delay the judgment by seven day.
Ojuok and Okolla told the court that they needed more time in order to raise the fine imposed against them.
However Lady Justice Wasilwa allowed the two a chance to appeal against the judgment. Before giving her judgment, defense lawyer Martin Olek had asked the court to be lenient with his clients as they were ready to offer a written apology to the court.
In her judgment, Wasilwa warned the two against going contrary to court orders however small they tend to be noting they should always observe the rule of law.
Other respondents in the case, the Sergeant at arms and the county government were let off the hook after the petitioner failed to prove that they were indeed served with a court order.
Ojuok was taken to court after defying an order barring his office from advertising the position of speaker that had been left vacant following the impeachment of Ann Adul, who was later reinstated by the court.
Adul who was the petitioner, through her lawyer Ken Okongo wanted the court to fine Ojuok and Okolla Sh. 500, 000 each and their properties confiscated and be auctioned to pay for the damages caused. The request was however denied.
After the issuance of the judgment there was drama at the Kisumu County Assembly premises moments after the judgment was read as MCAs supporting the embattled speaker and those against her literally clashed.
During this drama the members of the press who were busy capturing the unfolding events were immediately driven out of the compound for covering their uncouth behaviors county staff members who should behave well in public.
On the issue the assembly majority leader Samuel Ongou said Judge Helen Wasilwa interpreted the law very correctly saying assembly was not in contempt but save for the two Clerks.
He says the assembly will continue discharging its duties as usual, Ongou who was dismayed by the conduct of one of the assembly staff who addressed a press conference after the court case.
He said no member of the staff has the authority to speak to the press without authority from the Speaker.
Ongou announced that on Monday the County Assembly Service Board will meet and take stern action against the particular staff.
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