, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30 – The tribunal charged with determining Supreme Court Judge Philip Tunoi’s suitability to continue serving on the bench will hold a status conference on Thursday.
Tribunal chair Sharad Rao told Capital FM News that the conference is intended to set out the modus operandi of its hearings.
At the conference, the accused will make known whether he’s comfortable having his conduct probed in the full glare of the public eye or would rather it be done behind closed doors.
“And then we decide primarily on the question of the hearing dates,” Rao said.
Full hearings are expected to commence on Monday, April 4 with the Judicial Service Act requiring the tribunal to hear the accused at least 14 days after serving him with documents outlining the accusations levelled against him and a summary of the evidence submitted in support of the accusations.
The tribunal received a green light to go ahead with its hearings on Thursday last week after the High Court dismissed a challenge to its formation.
Activist Okiya Omtatah wanted the High Court to declare the tribunal improperly constituted on the grounds that Rao did not qualify to chair it.
He argued that Rao being over 70 years of age, would not qualify to be appointed a judge – having never served as a judge – and therefore had no business presiding over the vetting of one.
But the court dismissed his application after finding that Rao meets the Constitutional requirements, set out in Article 168(5) , to chair the tribunal.
The tribunal whose members are retired Justice Jonathan Havelock, Justice Roselyn Korir, Judith Guserwa, James Gacoka, Abdirashid Hussein and George Wakukha is charged with investigating one Geoffrey Kiplagat’s claim that he witnessed Tunoi receive a brown briefcase containing a USD2,000 bribe from Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero in exchange for the upholding of his electoral win by the Supreme Court.
Both Tunoi and Kidero have dismissed the claim with the former having expressed his willingness to face a tribunal in an effort to clear his name.
He is however not required, by law, to be present for the tribunal’s sittings.