Turkana governor faces arrest over forgery of his academic papers

Turkana governor Jeremiah Ekamais Lomorukai now faces arrest after the High Court dismissed his bid to stop his imminent arrest over the forgery of his academic papers.

Justice Reuben Nyakundi rejected the governor’s application for anticipatory bail pending the hearing and determination of the suit where he is challenging the decision by Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to arrest him over allegations of a “fake degree”.

“The petitioner(governor Lomorukai) had failed to demonstrate that the EACC and the DPP, Inspector General of Police have breached his fundamental rights to freedom or that there exists any threat of his rights to warrant the grant of anticipatory bail. The petition has no merit and accordingly dismissed it,” Justice Nyakundi ordered.

According to the anti-graft agency, it was established that both the governor’s degree and diploma certificates were fake, thus rendering him liable to criminal prosecution.

While declining the governor’s application, the judge noted that the EACC has not abused or misused its powers when it commenced investigations and its subsequent decision to recommend his prosecution to the office of the DPP.

“In my view by undertaking investigations, the commission were not only carrying out their constitutional mandate under Articles 244and 243 of the constitution and can not be curtailed by this court if they so wish to bring charges of any kind against the governor,” Justice Nyakundi ruled.

Further, the judge noted that the governor save for being apprehensive about the impending arrest has not demonstrated to the court any illegal or unlawful manner in which the EACC might have undertaken the said investigations.

EACC says the governor forged a degree and diploma certificates purported to have been issued by the Kenya Methodist University.

The governor is said to have used the alleged forged papers to seek clearance to successfully contest the gubernatorial seat.

According to an affidavit filed in court by EACC investigator Celestine Owiti, investigations against the governor were necessitated by the complaint lodged on January 27, 2017, alleging that the governor irregularly and fraudulently acquired a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Counselling from the Kenya Methodist University (KEMU).

It was further reported that Governor Lomorukai who sat for the 1994 KCSE examination in Lodwar High School and attained a C- (Minus) was not eligible to join the university for an undergraduate course.

When the said complaint was lodged at the EACC, Lomorukai was a Member of the County Assembly of Turkana and was vying for the position of Member of Parliament for Loima Constituency which he later won.

The commission further informed the court that, the investigations into the matter commenced and it was established that the governor had applied for a pre-university programme at KEMU in January 2012 and soon thereafter and before completing the pre-university programme, he purported to have applied for a diploma in counselling in the same year.

EACC contends that at KEMU there are no records of governor Lomorukai registering for the diploma course.

“Governor Lomorukai was not eligible to undertake an undergraduate course or be awarded a Degree certificate without first completing the University Programme and Diploma in counselling,” Investigator Owiti told the court.

The investigations established that the county boss had fraudulently obtained a degree certificate through the falsification and alterations of records at KEMU.

“The fraudulently acquired certificate was used by Lomorukai on March 6, 2017, in his self-declaration form that was used in securing his clearance from IEBC when he was vying for the position of Member of County Assembly (MCA),” the EACC stated.

Following the investigation, the EACC vide a letter dated November 23, 2021, forwarded a report to the DPP with recommendations that governor Lomorukai be charged with forgery and uttering a false document.

The DPP later okayed that the governor to be arrested and charged with the alleged offence of forgery.

The governor was among the 241 candidates flagged by the EACC as having outstanding integrity issues prior to the August 9, 2022 elections and their names submitted to the IEBC.

Twalib Mbarak-led agency vehemently protested that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) turned a blind eye to their recommendation before the clearance.

EACC stated the IEBC gave Lomorukai the green light to vie for the position of Turkana Governor despite the commission bringing the matter to the attention of the electoral body.

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