, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – Businessman Mike Njeru who has been named as one of those involved in the alleged bribery of Supreme Court Justice Philip Tunoi, has labeled his accuser an extortionist.
Njeru describes how Geoffrey Kiplagat attempted to use the affidavit implicating him in a plot to bribe Tunoi to blackmail him.
Appearing before a special committee of the Judicial Service Commission investigating the alleged bribery, Njeru said it explained why Kiplagat, “sat on,” the affidavit which implicates him in the alleged compromising of Tunoi, for close to a year.
While he has admitted to being acquainted with Kiplagat and to have contributed to his 2013 ambitions for elective office, he’s denied that he later enlisted Kiplagat’s help to bribe Tunoi on behalf of Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero who’s been accused of paying over Sh200 million to the judge in order to have him sway the election petition that pitted him against now Kabete MP Ferdinand Waititu, in his favour.
Njeru says the money he gave Kiplagat after he lost the election was out of sympathy; to pay for his rent and for the medical treatment of his ailing child.
He has also admitted to instructing Kiplagat to submit his CV to Kidero’s office in the hopes of helping him secure gainful employment but not to keep him quiet over the alleged bribery.
He says Kiplagat did not qualify to work in the county government’s communication department but that he helped him secure another job at a local radio station.
He goes on to testify that Kiplagat resorted to blackmailing him using an affidavit after his situation got more desperate.
He has however denied going along with the alleged attempted blackmail and swears he told Kiplagat to take his claims to the police.
He expressed surprise that it took a whole year for Kiplagat to resurface with the allegations and to further poke holes into his accuser’s claims, he questions why Tunoi would have taken Kiplagat along as a, “joyrider,” to receive a bribe and why such a bribe, as Kiplagat claims, would have been exchanged at a petrol station near his office when he was not to be party to it. “I was away in Europe when the exchange is alleged to have taken place.”
Speaking to Capital News, Njeru’s lawyer Andrew Musangi said they presented copies of the cheques that Njeru wrote to Kiplagat to the committee as well as a copy of an email in which Kiplagat allegedly attached his affidavit — more than a year before it made its way into the public domain — in an attempt to blackmail Njeru.
When he had his day before the six member committee which is charged with investigating the bribery allegations leveled against him, Tunoi described Kiplagat as a, “busybody,” used by the Judicial Service Commission to promote, “cheap fiction,” in an effort to remove him from office.
The Margaret-Kobia-committee will present the findings of its week-long investigations to the wider JSC on Wednesday.
Based on their findings, the JSC has the power to recommend that President Uhuru Kenyatta constitute a tribunal to investigate the charges against Tunoi and make recommendations on his continued service as a judge.
Tunoi, who has challenged his retirement at 70, has accused the JSC of fabricating the bribery allegations against him in order to force him out of office.