Tatu City tussle now entangles judge

December 1, 2011 2:39 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1 – A High Court Judge has been accused of bias and delaying a multi-billion shilling suit that pities directors of Tatu City and a company known as Kofinaf.

Justice John B Havelock is accused by lawyers representing Tatu City of allegedly siding with interested parties and delaying the determination of the case which has now stalled the ultra-modern housing project.

Tatu City’s lawyer Julius Kemboy has now written to Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and the presiding judge of the commercial division seeking their intervention to have the matter concluded.

“As is evident, we are not seeking any favorable treatment on behalf of the company but rather asserting our client’s right to have its application decided fairly and by an impartial and independent tribunal which right, the orders made by Havelock, J in the matter thus far, have and continue to undermine,” Kemboy and Company advocates said in a letter addressed to the presiding judge of the Commercial, Admiralty and Tax division in Milimani Law courts.

The letter dated November 30 goes on to add that “the company has sought recusal of Havelock, on what it believes are legitimate grounds.”

The lawyers are arguing that “it would go against all known precedent if such an endevour is met with anger and irritation.”

“This would not help sustain the dignity or status of the court,” adds the complaint letter from Kemboy and Company advocates.

Tatu City had wanted Justice Havelock to disqualify himself in the case in which one of the directors is seeking to have the company wound up.

They allege that the Judge had represented the company while he was in private practice.

“It is obvious that Justice Havelock has now descended to the arena of conflict between the parties and taken a partisan position in favour of the parties hence his concerted efforts to frustrate the early hearing and determination of the company’s said application,” the lawyers said.

In a separate court document, Kemboy said that “the company has learnt that Justice Havelock represented the company while in private practice and is personally known to the first petitioner herein which fact was not disclosed to the parties.”

“The company contends that a failure on the part of Justice Havelock to disclose this fact undermines his authority and impartiality to sit as judge in these proceedings and has in fact visited infinite prejudice to the rights of the company to a just and fair hearing,” Kemboy said.

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