, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 10 – Three Court of Appeal Judges have disqualified themselves from handling an appeal lodged by the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) in its 20-year dispute with a firm associated with two nephews of the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
Justice Philip Tunoi bowed out of the matter last week while Justices Emmanuel O\’Kubasu and Joseph Nyamu followed suit on Wednesday. Presiding Judge Samuel Bosire expressed concern that perceived suspicions by lawyers over the conduct of judges could derail the dispensation of justice.
Justice O\’ Kubasu explained that he studied with one of the directors of Benjoh Amalgamated Ltd, politician Ngengi Muigai, and he would not wish to see his impartiality questioned on the basis of that relationship. Justice Nyamu, who was a partner at one of the oldest law firms in the country, said he had represented KCB during his private practice and it was not prudent to handle the case.
At the same time the appeal court stayed the proceedings of the Sh693 million coffee farm belonging to Mr Muigai until the notice of motion pending before the court is heard and determined.
In the suit the bank is appealing against the decision by Milimani commercial judge Joyce Khaminwa to issue an injunction allowing Mr Muigai to temporarily reclaim the coffee estate.
Mr Muigai through lawyer Gichuki Kingara has sued KCB for disposing the said estate at an alleged throw-away price of Sh70 million to Bidii Kenya in 2007.
KCB wants the Court of Appeal to reverse Justice Khaminwa’s decision until the bank is heard.
The bank through lawyer Phillip Nyachoti is arguing that the judge erred by conclusively holding without the benefit of trial that the bank charged and altered interest rates of the loan.
He is also challenging the decision by the judge to order that the suit be heard and concluded within six months.