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NGO board to pay Sh2 million for freezing KHRC accounts.

The NGOs Coordination Board has been ordered to pay Sh2 million to a human rights group it deregistered over claims of tax evasion.

High Court Judge Chacha Mwita ordered the board to pay the amount as compensation to Kenya Human Rights Commission for directing the Central Bank of Kenya to freeze the organisation's bank accounts in August last year. Mwita said the directive was illegal.

He said the board's executive director Fazul Mohammed acted beyond his mandate by giving further directions to the Kenya Revenue Authority to recover accrued taxes.

The KHRC went to court to challenge the decision.

The organisation said the move was unreasonable and against its expectations to be given a chance to defend itself.

Mwita said the board acted against the Constitution and fair administrative action by failing to accord the organisation a hearing, before making the decision.

'In that regard therefore, the respondent's executive director acted outside his mandate in advising the Central Bank of Kenya to freeze KHRC bank accounts. It would appear the respondent was only interested in paralysing the operations of the organisation other than enforcing the law. Neither were the actions in public interest nor in pursuit of justice,' Mwita ruled.

He said courts have powers to intervene when state organs, administrative bodies or public officers act in flagrant disobedience of the Constitution and the law.

'They have an obligation to obey the constitutional command and the law. In the event they violate any of them, their actions will in no doubt be declared unconstitutional and illegal,' Mwita said.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Feb 8, 2018
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