, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – Businessman Mike Njeru was on Tuesday taken to task over his relationship with Geoffrey Kiplagat, the former journalist who has accused Supreme Court judge Philip Tunoi of taking a Sh200 million bribe from Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero.
The tribunal charged with looking into the complaint sought to know from Njeru why Kiplagat whom he’d described as a friend, would turn around and bear false testimony, as Njeru claims, against him by naming and shaming him as a co-conspirator in the alleged plot to compromise Tunoi.
Chairman Sharad Rao and tribunal members Roselyn Korir, Judith Guserwa, James Gacoka, Abdirashid Hussein, George Wakukha and Jonathan Havelock all sought to know what would cause a man – if not the growth of conscience – to go out of his way to sully the name of his benefactor.
Njeru having testified that he’d spent over Sh1 million on Kiplagat in campaign financing – when he sought elected office in 2013 – and to provide for his family.
“Depending on my ability sometimes I’d give him as little as Sh2,000 other times as much as Sh20,000 when he asked me for money for food for his children.”
It was a question that came up time and again during Tuesday’s morning session; from the tribunal, from Lead Assisting Counsel Paul Nyamodi and from Tunoi’s legal counsel Fred Ngatia:
“The judge can’t understand where this complaint is coming from. This is your good friend right? He implicates you in a conspiracy involving the judge right? Are you able to understand what it is that we’re dealing with?”
Njeru’s response was that he grew tired of supporting Kiplagat and eventually told him to, “be his own man.”
“It reached a time I got fatigued. I really got tired and I slowed down and cut in supporting him. I think that’s when maybe he could have gotten jilted and he decided to try and fix me.”
Last month he testified that the charity he showed to Kiplagat was motivated by the support he’d given him, as a newscaster on Kass FM, when he ran communications for the Orange Democratic Movement’s ‘No to the draft Constitution’ campaign back in 2005.
Njeru was also taken to task over text messages exchanged between himself and Kiplagat – which the latter submitted as proof of Tunoi’s inducement – and he was hard pressed to explain in which context, other than that claimed, they were exchanged.
One of the text messages Kiplagat submitted was sent to him by Njeru reads: “But your people called him directly.”
According to Kiplagat, Njeru was making reference to Tunoi’s representatives reaching out to Kidero but according to Njeru, he was simply advising Kiplagat to reach out to Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero’s Personal Assistant John Osogo, directly, for a job.
Osogo, another of Njeru’s proclaimed friends, will take the stand on Wednesday; having also been named as a co-conspirator in the alleged purchase of a judge.
Others adversely mentioned by Kiplagat and expected to testify are Kidero himself and lawyer Katwa Kigen.
The tribunal may however be rendered redundant if the Court of Appeal, on Friday next week, endorses the High Court finding that Tunoi should have retired at 70.