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NGOs board to pay KHRC Sh2 million for illegal deregistration.

The High Court has ordered the NGOs board to pay Sh2 million to a rights group it deregistered over claims of tax evasion

Justice Chacha Mwita ordered the board to pay Kenya Human Rights Commission the compensation, saying its order for Central Bank to freeze the organisation's bank accounts in August last year was illegal.

The judge said the board executive director Fazul Mahamed acted beyond his mandate when he further directed Kenya Revenue Authority to recover accrued taxes.

The human rights watchdog went to court to protest the decision to shut it down and accused the NGOs Coordination Board of acting illegally.

KHRC argued that the move was unreasonable and against its expectations as it was not given a chance to defend its self.

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's bank accounts," he said on Wednesday.

"It would appear the respondent was only interested in paralysing the operations of the organisation, not enforcing the law. Neither were the actions in public interest nor in pursuit of justice."

The Judge was of the view that public officers and state organs must obey the constitution and the law.

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

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

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Feb 7, 2018
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