, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 19 – The tribunal probing Philip Tunoi on Thursday traced the alleged visits by his main accuser to his Supreme Court office, in a bid to ascertain the damning allegations he has made against the judge in the ongoing Sh200 million graft probe.
Tunoi’s accuser, Geoffrey Kiplagat in his sworn affidavit, alleges he visited both Tunoi and Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero’s office on several occasions.
- Maina said she only saw Kiplagat once, after the matter had already erupted, at the office of the Ombudsman
- Both Nyai and Maina further denied claims of having shared information with the office of ombudsman at the Judiciary over the scandal
- Also probed was Nairobi Governor Evan Kidero's Secretary Alice Makhungu, who denied having ever seen Kiplagat at City Hall
The commission therefore summoned Tunoi’s secretary Sophia Nyai and that of Justice Njoki Ndung’u – who share a reception area – to establish whether Kiplagat visited the judge.
First to appear before the tribunal was Nyai, an official of the Judiciary since June 1995 and attached to Tunoi in August 2011.
As a secretary, she said her work was to receive people visiting her boss, receive calls and typing court proceedings.
“We do not serve tea…the judge is served by those who prepare tea,” Nyai told the tribunal.
Nyai was tasked to give a visual explanation of how the judge normally accesses his office and whether all visitors seeing him go through her.
“We only have one reception through Chamber 13’s entrance,” she said.
Tunoi’s office is in Chamber 14 within the Supreme Court building, but has a private door with the judge being the only custodian of the key.
“The judge hardly opens the door,” she asserted.
Though she does not maintain records of the visitors seeing the judge, Nyai said she cannot recall ever seeing Kiplagat between the month of May and September 2014, when he made his alleged visits.
“The judge only receive like five visitors per week…I don’t recall ever seeing him,” she said.
Tunoi’s lawyer Fred Ngatia took the chance to expose the security loopholes at the Supreme Court building, since other than at the main gate where one goes through security checks, one can freely meanders through its corridors.
“It means you just need to have a slight clue of where a judge’s office is,” Ngatia said.
The second in line was Sarah Maina, Justice Ndungu’s secretary, who was invited on the virtue of sharing a reception with Tunoi’s secretary, meaning she could have seen Tunoi’s visitors as well.
Kiplagat, in his affidavit, says Maina received him during his visits at Tunoi’s office, “served him tea and made sure he was comfortable.”
“That is ridiculous,” she said, responding to a query on how ‘comfortable’ Kiplagat used to be made.