, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 7 – The first public hearing by the tribunal investigating the conduct of Justice Philip Tunoi was on Thursday adjourned to Tuesday next week following a request by the troubled judge.
Tunoi, through his lawyer Paul Lilan said a court case to determine whether he should retire at the age of 70 was being heard at the same time, after their attempt to adjourn the petition failed.
“We had sent counsel yesterday to try and seek an adjournment and we had hoped that it would be successful,” Lilan said. “Unfortunately it was declined. We have to proceed for hearing today. The judge has this situation where he has to handle both situations.”
Lilan explained that the judge had to concentrate on the hearing of the petition first.
He also revealed that Tunoi had received some information that would help in cross-examining the witness testifying against him.
“The judge has received material which will helpful to cross-examine this particular witness,” the lawyer explained while saying the information was “from outside sources.”
Tunoi had wanted the petition on his retirement age at the Court of Appeal adjourned so that he can first clear his name in the Sh200 million graft allegations.
Tunoi displayed a catch-22 situation while expressing fears that if the court rules he should retire, the tribunal will be rendered redundant since he will no longer be a serving judge.
“There was communication from the Office of the President that the judge (Tunoi) is no longer a judge because as far as they are concerned, he lost the case at High Court where it was determined that the retirement age of such a judge is 70 years,” Tunoi told the tribunal.
He however appealed the High Court ruling, where he got a stay until the matter is heard and determined.
“If the civil appeal is determined otherwise, then we stand the risk of the tribunal being rendered superfluous and that’s what I’m fighting against,” he stated.
“Serious allegations were made against me; those allegations are the subject of ventilation before this tribunal and I think it is time for me to clear my name first so that if the civil appeal goes whichever way, the truth will have been determined.”
The Sharad Rao-led tribunal has assured him of a fair hearing.
“I can assure you that you will have a fair hearing and whatever we shall investigate and decide will depend absolutely 100 percent on the evidence that we hear and from any substance outside,” he said.