Bid to stop the work of Tunoi tribunal flops

Saturday March 5 2016

Activist Okiya Omtatah addresses the court a past petition hearing. Mr Omtatah and Mr Wycliffe Nyakina had on March 3, 2016 moved to court to halt Justice Tunoi's bribery  investigation. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Activist Okiya Omtatah addresses the court a past petition hearing. Mr Omtatah and Mr Wycliffe Nyakina had on March 3, 2016 moved to court to halt Justice Tunoi's bribery investigation. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

By MAUREEN KAKAH
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The High Court has declined to stop the work of a tribunal set to investigate Sh200m bribery claims against Supreme Court judge, Justice Philip Tunoi.

Two activists had moved to court seeking a temporary suspension of the work of the tribunal headed by Mr Sharad Rao.

On Friday, however, Justice Joseph Onguto ruled that the issue must be heard in the presence of the sued parties before such a request is granted.

“The court is mandated to accordingly exercise its powers, in this case I am not entirely convinced that there is enough evidence for the orders sought to be issued and I, therefore, decline to grant any request made,” the judge said.

Mr Okiya Omtatah and Mr Wycliffe Nyakina had on Thursday moved to court over the matter.

The two had faulted President Uhuru Kenyatta and Attorney General Githu Muigai for appointing Mr Rao as the chairman of the tribunal, noting he does not meet constitutional requirements.

They argued that Mr Rao has never been a judge of a superior court and he is over 70 years.

“Mr Rao also violated the Constitution by accepting the appointment when he knows his age does not allow him,” they said.

Mr Rao, who is the chairman of the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board, was sworn in on Wednesday to head the seven-member tribunal.

Other members are High Court judge Roselyn Korir, lawyers Judith Guserwa, James Kaberere, Abdirashid Hussein and George Wakukha.

The tribunal is set to look into allegations that Justice Tunoi took a Sh200 million bribe from Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero to influence a ruling on a petition against him by Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu.

Even though Justice Tunoi and Dr Kidero have both denied the bribery claims, which nonetheless made Mr Waititu seek redress.