3-judge bench to hear Omtatah’s currency case declared ‘urgent Weighty Matter’

Image result for images of Justice Weldon Korir
Justice Weldon Korir

The High Court has referred Kenyans Counsel Okiya Omtatah’s Case against the new unveiled currency to Chief Justice who is set to Constitute a 3-Judge Bench to hear and determine what Justice Weldon Korir has termed an ‘Urgent Weighty Matter with Substantial Questions of Law’

Following the launch of the new generation Bank notes by President Uhuru Kenyatta during the 56th Madaraka Day Celebrations in Narok, Kenyans have expressed displeasure in the repeated use of founding father Jomo Kenyatta’s picture on the notes.

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The bold Activist Okiya Omtatah filed a case at the Milimani Law Courts on Monday, accusing the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) of violating the Constitution by having a statue of Kenya’s founding President Jomo Kenyatta at the back of all the new notes.

In the suit papers, which were certified urgent, Omtatah argues that the move by CBK violates Article 231(4) of the Constitution.

He accuses the CBK of not conducting public participation in the design stage to determine its imagery.

Image result for Kenya New currency unveiled on Madaraka day in Narok

“The Constitution decrees that Kenyan currency bank notes shall not bear the portrait of any individual,” he argues.

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 states that notes and coins shall not bear the portrait of any individual.

“Notes and coins issued by the CBK may bear images that depict or symbolise Kenya or an aspect of Kenya, but shall not bear the portrait of any individual,” reads Section 231(4) of the Constitution.

He is also challenging the demonetisation of the Sh1,000-notes after October 1, insisting that the move is not supported by any provisions in law.

Justice Weldon Korir said he will issue directions on the matter on Tuesday morning.

Kenyans have until October 31 to discard the current one thousand shillings note following their abolishment by the government.

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CBK boss Patrick Njoroge

“The emergence of counterfeits has become a great concern. All the Sh 1000 notes were withdrawn by a gazette notice on Friday. Those in possession [of the bank notes] have until October 31, 2019 to release them,” said Prof Njoroge who urged Kenyans to have the notes changed.

The immediate phase out of the Sh 1000 note, according to Dr Njoroge, will help in dealing with cases of counterfeits, which has impacted the economy negatively. Bad elements in the society have often used fake money in 1000 notes to hoodwink unsuspecting Kenyans.

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