High Court declines to stop Tunoi probe tribunal

Justice Tunoi has refuted the bribery allegations levelled against him. [Photo/Courtesy]

The tribunal formed to investigate the conduct of Supreme Court Judge Philip Tunoi will start its operations on Monday as scheduled after the High Court  before Justice Joseph Onguto declined to stop operations of the tribunal as requested by two activists.

The Judge, however, certified the matter as urgent and raised weighty arguable facts that warrant hearing from those sued before issuing any temporary orders.

The Judge ordered immediate service of court documents to the respondents among them President Uhuru Kenyatta and Sharad Rao.

The matter will be heard on March 11th, 2016.

On Thursday, activists Okiya Omtata and Nyakina Gisebe alleged that the existence of Sharad Rao in the tribunal is a violation of the constitution on the basis that Rao is older than the cut-off age for appointing Judges, and that by his accepting the appointment knowing that he is not qualified violates Kenyan law.

The constitution requires the chairperson of a tribunal appointed to probe the conduct of a Judge to be a present or past member of the bench or at least qualify to be appointed as a judge.

The tribunal investigating the conduct of Justice Tunoi was Wednesday sworn into office by Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga, even as it emerged that its work could fail to take off over a row surrounding the age of its chairman, Sharad Rao.

The tribunal was formed to determine whether Justice Tunoi should continue to hold office following claims by journalist Geoffrey Kiplagat that he took a bribe of 200 million shillings from Nairobi Governor Dr. Evans Kidero in an election petition case filed by Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu.

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Maureen Murimi
Story By Maureen Murimi
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