High Court Temporarily Suspends Presidential Task Force On Forensic Auditing Of Public Debt

The High Court of Kenya has temporarily suspended the establishment of the Presidential Taskforce on the Forensic Audit of Public Debt until the outcome of the lawsuit filed by a Nakuru-based doctor.

Justice Lawrence Mugambi delivered the ruling after Dr Magare Gikenyi and Eliud Matindi contended that auditing public debt is a constitutionally mandated job of the Auditor General, not any task team formed by the Executive or anybody else.

President William Ruto Friday last week appointed a Presidential Taskforce on Forensic Audit of the Public Debt through Executive Order No 4.

The establishment was part of the austerity measures following the President’s withdrawal of the contentious Finance Bill 2024.

The purpose of the task force was to audit the public debt within 90 days and report back to the President.

However, the two petitioners told the court that the President’s actions usurped the mandate of an independent office of the Auditor General.

This they said made it unconstitutional as any further action will lead to loss of public confidence and outright abuse of political power.

“The office of the Auditor-General is independent. Duplicating roles is a waste of scarce public resources since the task force will essentially be performing roles of existing public offices, contrary to the constitution,” they said.

The Judge in suspending the executive order directed that the application be served on the Attorney General and other respondents within the next three days. Responses he said are to be filed in seven days.