A MAGISTRATE on Friday hit out at a permanent secretary, describing her behaviour as “wayward” and acting as “someone who is above the law”.
Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Kouhota delivered the hard-hitting indictment when imposing a four month suspended sentence on the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development, Selina Boso.
Boso was earlier found guilty of failing to furnish information about the controversial Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to the Ombudsman.
“As permanent secretary, you have an obligation to assist the Ombudsman in his investigation relating to matters of national interest,” Mr Kouhota told Boso.
“You however, deliberately chose not to cooperate with the Ombudsman’s investigation and willfully failed to provide vital information to allow him perform his constitutional and statutory functions,” he added.
“Not only that but even when you were summoned to appear in person before the Ombudsman you make excuses and did not turn up.
“May be you thought you were above the law.
“You should take heed of the famous words of one of the country’s former prime ministers that ‘no one is above the law’.
“And if I may add, not even the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development is above the law.”
Mr Kouhota said this is the first offense of its kind in the country.
“But what makes it serious is the position you held when you committed the offence.
“You are a permanent secretary and had with you vital information which would assist the Ombudsman perform his constitutional and statutory functions for the greater good of this country and not for any political gain as you have thought.
“As a person who holds and has charge of information relating to administration and distribution of funds meant to assist ordinary people of this nation, people expect more from you than anyone else to assist in an investigation which may lead to a future fair and equitable distribution of these public funds.
“You had failed the people on this. You also fail to turn up in court on one occasion and a warrant of arrest had to be issued against you.
“When you next appear in court, you gave an excuse which was later discovered to be false.
“This was confirmed in a letter to the court by the special secretary to the Prime Minister dated 3rd July 2015.
“You pleaded not guilty to the charge and show no remorse but remained defiant to the end.”
Mr Kouhota also told Boso the Ombudsman has powers provided for in the constitution.
These powers, the chief magistrate added, should not be brushed aside lightly at the capricious whim of a “wayward permanent secretary”.
The sentence means Boso will not go to jail, but if she commits another crime within the next two years, she will be arrested and imprisoned for four months.
George Gray of the Public Solicitor’s Office represented Boso in the case.
By LESLEY SANGA