Uhuru Kenyatta appoints tribunal to probe Justice Tunoi

Tuesday February 23 2016

Justice Philip Tunoi at the Supreme Court. He is accused of taking a bribe. PHOTO | FILE

Justice Philip Tunoi at the Supreme Court. He is facing allegations that he received a Sh200 million bribe to rule in favour of a politician in an election petition. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PETER LEFTIE
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President Uhuru Kenyatta has suspended Supreme Court Judge Philip Tunoi and formed a seven-member tribunal to investigate a Sh200 million bribery claim against him.

State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu posted on his Twitter page on Tuesday that the President had appointed Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board chairman Sharad Rao to head the tribunal.

Other members appointed to the tribunal are Judge Roselyn Korir, retired judge Jonathan Havelock, Ms Judith Guserwa, Mr James Kaberere Gachoka, Mr Abdirashid Abdullahi Hussein and Mr George Munji Wakukha.

Mr Esipisu said the tribunal would investigate the conduct of Justice Tunoi, who allegedly received a Sh200 million bribe from Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero to rule in his favour in an election petition filed by now Ferdinand Waititu, now the Kabete MP.

President Kenyatta is in Israel on a three-day State visit.

He had earlier rejected recommendations by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to appoint a tribunal, arguing that suspending Justice Tunoi would create a constitutional crisis.

In a February 19 letter to the Chief Justice and chairman of the JSC, Dr Willy Mutunga, the President advised that they await the outcome of an appeal filed by the judge in the High Court challenging a decision to retire him at age 70.

The move triggered outrage, with lawyers warning it could lead to his impeachment by MPs.

LSK chairman Eric Mutua had on Monday expressed fears that Justice Tunoi would go scot-free whether the Court of Appeal upholds or overturns the High Court ruling since the 14-day window within which to form a tribunal would have lapsed.