, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 24 – High Court judge Weldon Korir on Monday denied charging suspended judge Joseph Mbalu Mutava with a case filed by controversial businessman Kamlesh Pattni back in 2012 in relation to the Goldenberg scam.
Korir who is now the judge presiding over the Judicial Review Division of the High Court, said he had asked his, “brother,” Mutava to fill in for him the Friday, back in August 2012, Pattni made his application for orders barring the Director of Public Prosecutions and Police from continuing to prosecute or instituting fresh charges in relation to the Goldenberg affair.
- Mutava in turn accused Havi of seeking to settle a personal score through the tribunal for an unfavourable verdict he delivered against his client in a case that pit them against Barclays Bank of Kenya.
- He also challenged Havi’s appearance before the tribunal given the client he was representing in the Pattni case, the International Centre for Policy and Conflict, withdrew their complaint against him.
Korir however denied specifically asking Mutava to preside over Pattni’s application which he said should have properly been argued before judge Florence Muchemi whom he said, to the best of his recollection, was charged with handling Judicial Review matters during the August 2012 vacation.
“I found it easier to ask my brother (Mutava) rather than a senior judge to hold down the fort for me as we were appointed at the same time. I was meant to be the vacation judge for the Civil and Land and Environment divisions which were combined for the vacation for the entire week of August 6 to 10 of 2012 but I had a school function for my children to attend that Friday so I asked Mutava to step in for me. He was at the Commercial Division at the time. But I couldn’t have asked him to preside over the case in question because it should have properly been before the Judicial Review court and I had no way of knowing which cases would come up,” he testified before the tribunal charged with determining Mutava’s suitability to continue serving as a judge.
Nelson Havi, an advocate who testified before the tribunal prior to Korir, formally complained to the Judicial Service Commission over Mutava’s handling of Pattni’s application back in October of 2012 arguing that it should properly be before a court charged with Judicial Review and not Mutava who was in the Commercial division.
Havi testified that Mutava not only, “inappropriately,” heard the application, he went ahead to issue orders ex-parte, staying any cases related to the Goldenberg affair including a criminal case Pattni was facing.
Thereafter rather than refer the matter back to the appropriate court once the vacation was over, Havi testified that Mutava had the file retained in the Commercial division, “under lock and key,” before eventually ruling in favour of Pattni.
He said even the listing of a mention date for the case in the cause list was suspicious given it was listed as a civil matter (HCC) as opposed to one for Judicial Review (JR or MISC) with the applicant not clearly identified as Pattni but using his lesser known name of Damji.
“Pattni is not a small man. A case involving him would have drawn widespread attention yet I do not recollect there being a story published in regard to this matter at this point,” Havi testified.
He accused Pattni’s lawyer, identified as Kalove (Bernard), of writing to the Deputy Registrar at the Milimani Law Courts to keep the Pattni case before Mutava under the guise of seeking a clarification on the Judge’s ex-parte orders issued over the August vacation.
Mutava in turn accused Havi of seeking to settle a personal score through the tribunal for an unfavourable verdict he delivered against his client in a case that pit them against Barclays Bank of Kenya.
He also challenged Havi’s appearance before the tribunal given the client he was representing in the Pattni case, the International Centre for Policy and Conflict, withdrew their complaint against him.