LSK President Faith Odhiambo
Image: COURTESY

The Law Society of Kenya and its President Faith Odhiambo have declined to take up an appointment to the Public Debt taskforce formed by President William Ruto on Friday.

LSK CEO and Secretary Florence Muturi said the society believes the taskforce is unconstitutional adding that its members would not take up any role in it.

LSK argued that the mandate to audit public debt rests with the office of the Auditor-General.

"Taking cognisance of the provisions of Article 229 of the constitution and the interpretation of the said provisions by the court, it is our considered view that the establishment of the taskforce is unconstitutional," LSK said in a statement dated July 5 and signed by Muturi.

"The Council of the Law Society of Kenya has thus resolved that neither our president nor any of our members shall take up appointments or participate in the said taskforce."

The LSK further noted their decision is also drawn from the recent High Court decision, in a case, that underscored the Auditor-General’s role in the public audit.

In the case, in which Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya was sued for forming a task force to probe the county's debt, the High Court ruled that the Governor could have requested the Auditor General to conduct a forensic audit.

LSK went on to discourage the usurping of the Constitutional powers of the Auditor-General through Executive Orders and appealed to the government to allow the Auditor-General to perform her constitutional duties.

"The Office on Public Debt Management, headed by a Director-General at the Treasury and funded by public money, should provide details of public debt to the Auditor General for forensic audit," LSK said.

"It is essential not to use scarce public resources by appointing a  Taskforce to perform duties of existing public offices."