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Kenya's chief prosecutor orders investigation into election board
September 24, 2017 / 9:30 AM / a month ago

Kenya's chief prosecutor orders investigation into election board

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya’s chief prosecutor has directed the department of criminal investigations and the anti-corruption commission to investigate election board officials over possible offences in the invalidated Aug. 8 presidential vote, he said in a letter.

Keriako Tobiko, the director of public prosecutions, also asked the two agencies to examine allegations that two senior opposition officials gained illegal access to servers of the election commission as the poll results were being tallied.

The Supreme Court annulled the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sept. 1, citing irregularities and illegalities in the transmission of results, and ordered a repeat election within 60 days.

In its detailed ruling last Wednesday, the court said it had not found evidence of individual culpability among election board officials, adding the failings were institutional.

Tobiko said in the letter seen by Reuters on Sunday that the court not finding individual culpability did not stop him from carrying out an investigation.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who petitioned against Kenyatta’s win, has said he will not participate in the re-run scheduled for Oct. 26 if officials at the election board are not sacked and prosecuted.

The election board got the backing of Africa’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The group, whose observation mission gave last month’s poll a clean bill of health, said it was confident the board could manage a repeat the election well, warning against attempts to prevent it from carrying out its mandate.

“Sabotaging IEBC (election board) or boycotting the elections will put Kenya in a constitutional crisis and likely on a path to unconstitutional change of government,” IGAD said in a statement published in local newspapers.

Tobiko ordered that 11 officials at the board, including its chief executive and a commissioner, be investigated over possible crimes and a report sent to him within 21 days.

He also ordered that Odinga’s lead lawyer in the petition, James Orengo, and Musalia Mudavadi, one of Odinga’s top campaigners, be investigated for allegations of illegally accessing the election board’s servers and threatening Kenyatta’s chief agent during last month’s vote.

On Sunday, the local Standard newspaper reported that Kenyatta’s legal team was preparing to lodge an application for a judicial review of the ruling that overturned his win.

Citing a top official of Kenyatta’s Jubilee party, the paper said the move was informed by details contained in two dissenting opinions from the six judge bench that heard the case.

Kenyatta’s team will seek a recount of the ballots since the court, in the majority of four ruling, annulled the vote on a basis other than a dispute over the number of votes each candidate got, The Standard reported.

Jubilee officials did not answer calls from Reuters seeking immediate comment.

Editing by Jason Neely

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