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Court halts petition against PM

NAIROBI, May 19 – The High Court has temporarily suspended proceedings in an election petition case filed against Prime Minister (PM) Raila Odinga by his December poll rival for Langata constituency, Stanley Livondo.

This followed an application by Livondo’s lawyers to have the case halted, pending the hearing of a related case at the Court of Appeal.

Livondo’s lawyer Paul Wamae told Justice Alnashir Visram that his client had appealed against a ruling delivered by the High Court on April 4 in relation to the same petition case.

“My lord, we pray that you stay of these proceedings until another case that is before the Court of Appeal is heard and determined because it will affect these proceedings,” Wamae petitioned.

The lawyer said they had appealed against the judge’s decision declining to summon Odinga for a cross examination to establish whether he was personally served with suit papers.

The PM’s lawyer James Orengo had raised a successful preliminary objection to that application, and the case was to continue without calling Odinga to court.

Warning against dragging

Justice Visram allowed the application to have the case halted, but warned that should the Court of Appeal fail to arbitrate the petition within the given period, the case at the High court would carry on.

“I will not allow this case to be dragged on. It is in public interest that election petition cases are expedited,” said Visram.

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The case is set to be mentioned on July 21.

Livondo is challenging Odinga’s election as Member of Parliament (MP) for Langata, citing numerous irregularities. He wants the court to order a recount of the votes.

Were family negotiating over estate

Meanwhile, the family of former Embakasi legislator Mellitus Mugabe Were told the court on Monday that they were consulting internally to establish the lawful dependants and beneficiaries of the slain MP’s estate.

The family’s lawyer Peter Kaluma told Justice Kalpana Rawal that the family was also working to establish the details of the distribution of the late MP’s wealth and would have the last discussion on Tuesday.

The late legislator’s estate has been dogged by controversies over which of his three widows is the legal beneficiary.

The case is slotted for mention on May 27.

Passport Syndicate

Also in the courts, a man was on Monday charged with eight counts of forgery of travel documents.

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Omar Abdi Mohammed appeared before Nairobi Chief Magistrate Gilbert Mutembei for illegally possessing various Kenyan passports.

The court heard that Mohammed was arrested on Friday last week at the Al Mana Travel Agency in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate in possession of a forged Kenyan Visa and other blank visas.

It was alleged that the accused issued the passports and visas to Kenyan visitors from Ethiopia and Mexico.

He denied the charges and was remanded at the Industrial Area police station pending the hearing of his case on June 3.

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