In Summary
  • Justice Mwita also directed that the temporary order remain in place until October 2.

The High Court on Monday suspended the deregistration of the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) by the NGOs Coordination Board.

Judge Chacha Mwita issued the order following an application by the rights watchdog.

He ruled that the KHRC’s operations would be jeopardised if the orders are not granted as requested.

“Consequently, an interim conservatory order is hereby granted suspending the sued party’s notice dated August 14 cancelling KHRC’s certificate of registration pending the hearing and determination of this case,” the judge said.

Justice Mwita also directed that the temporary order remain in place until October 2, when the matter will be mentioned for further directions.

Justice Mwita also asked the sued parties to respond within 14 days.

Through lawyer Nzamba Kitonga, the KHRC had sued the NGOs Coordination Board following the directive that cancelled its certificate of registration.

The directive was issued by the the agency’s executive director, Fazul Mahamed, through a letter copied to the Central Bank of Kenya, Kenya Revenue Authority and other State agencies.

In the case in which the Law Society of Kenya is listed as an interested party, the KHRC argued that Mr Mahamed’s decision was arbitrary, and that it would likely taint its image internationally as well as affect its operations.
The agency argued that it was never issued with a notice to explain the matter, or any opportunity to be heard before the action was taken.
The lobby told the court that its image was bound to suffer because it had been maliciously accused of tax evasion, money laundering, and misappropriation, embezzlement and diversion of donor funds.
It added that the deregistration directive was aimed at scandalising the agency as it is not the first time the NGO Coordination Board has acted in this manner.
In October 29, 2005, the board indicated that it was going to deregister 957 lobbies that it said had failed to account for their funds, and the KHRC was among those listed.
But the lobby challenged the matter in court and Justice Joseph Onguto quashed the decision, saying it would be a violation of KHRC’s rights.