Omtatah challenges AG withdrawal of new coins, notes notices


Omtatah challenges AG withdrawal of new coins, notes notices

Activist Okiya Omtatah. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The validity of the new currency has been questioned in a court case in which activist Okiya Omtatah is accusing Attorney-General Paul Kihara Kariuki of unlawfully withdrawing three legal notices which paved the way to their use.

In a suit filed Wednesday the activist claims that the AG termed the three notices not statutory instruments — executive orders — as per the Central Bank Act and the Constitution. The notices described the new coins, the notes and also announced the withdrawal of the old Sh1,000 note. The said notices were published on December 7, 2018 and May 31 respectively.

Mr Omtatah reckons the Mr Kihara abused his office following the withdrawal of the gazette notices, arguing he had no powers to determine whether they were statutory instruments.

He also cites the fact that the three disputed gazette notices were never tabled before the National Assembly, discussed and approved.

“Power must be exercised in a transparent way which is evident for all to see. The AG must explain the reasons why he considered that the three notices are not statutory instruments,” says Mr Omtatah.

The old Sh1,000 note will be withdrawn by October 1 following the introduction of a new version aimed at tackling illicit financial flows and counterfeiting.

The older versions of smaller denominations will remain in circulation alongside the new ones launched June 1. The move to demonetise the old Sh1,000 note has triggered a legal storm with two court petitions filed yesterday challenging the new currency because of the use of the portrait of the founding president Jomo Kenyatta on the notes. The petitioners argue that it contravenes the Constitution.

The petitioners have also accused the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) of failing to involve the members of the public before the notes were printed.

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