, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 23 – The tribunal constituted to investigate an allegation that Supreme Court Justice Philip Tunoi took a Sh200 million bribe from Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero will commence its sittings on April 4.
This follows receipt of the petition served on President Uhuru Kenyatta calling for its formation after the Judicial Service Commission found that a prima facie case had been established.
In line with the legal provisions on the matter, the tribunal forwarded the accusations made in the petition to Tunoi who by law has 14 days to respond.
A pre-trial conference has been scheduled for March 31 at which point, among other things, the rules of procedure will be discussed.
The decision on whether or not the sittings will be open to the public will be made by Tunoi who expressed his willingness to face the tribunal after the JSC established that there had been “inappropriate contact” between him and Kidero’s agents at the time the latter’s gubernatorial petition was before the Supreme Court; a charge they’ve both denied.
The tribunal is chaired by Sharad Rao and the High Court will on Thursday deliver its finding on whether a challenge to his appointment bears merit.
Activist Okiya Omtatah has challenged Rao’s appointment as chair of the tribunal on the grounds that he is not a judge, has never been a judge and would not qualify to be appointed a judge today on account of his advanced age; a requirement stipulated in the Constitution.
Rao has however dismissed the contention on the grounds that he would have qualified to be a judge on account of his vast experience as an advocate.
Solicitor General Njee Muturi backed this position when he questioned why there were no qualms when Rao was appointed head of the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board whose term expires on March 31.
Other than Rao, the tribunal is composed of retired Justice Jonathan Havelock, Justice Roselyn Korir, Judith Guserwa, James Gacoka, Abdirashid Hussein and George Wakukha.
Reuben Kipkemoi Chirchir and Morris Kaburu are joint secretaries, Paul Nyamodi the Lead Assisting Counsel and David Wachira Assisting Counsel.