NAIROBI, Kenya, June 15 – The tribunal investigating the Sh200 million bribery claims against Justice Philip Tunoi will on Wednesday discuss the impact of the Supreme Court ruling which upheld that judges should retire at 70 years.
The landmark decision sounded the death-knell for the tribunal appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to investigate the sensational bribery allegations by former Kass radio journalist Geoffrey Kiplagat against Justice Tunoi.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday vacated an ex-parte order issued by Justice Njoki Ndungu that stayed the Court of Appeal judgment on the retirement age for judges.
Following the decision, Justice Tunoi is assumed to have retired after clocking 70 and as such the tribunal’s mandate automatically lapses since it cannot investigate a retired judge.
The Appeal Court decision for the two to retire at 70 was issued on May 27 but was vacated the same day by Justice Ndungu.
According to the CJ, the Supreme Court had the jurisdiction to hear activist Okiya Omtatah’s application challenging their jurisdiction to hear Rawal and Tunoi’s appeal, on the basis of conflict of interest.
Supreme Court Judges Mohammed Ibrahim and Smokin Wanjala disqualified themselves from hearing Omtatah’s application seeking to have the bench disqualify itself.
Justice Tunoi is alleged to have pocketed the money from Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero in 2014 to influence the outcome of his election petition lodged by Kabete Member of Parliament Ferdinand Waititu.
The seven-member tribunal, led by the Chairman of the Judges and Magistrate’s Vetting Board Sharad Rao, has been holding its public sessions at the Anniversary Towers in Nairobi.
On Tuesday, the tribunal ruled that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) acted on its own motion, while commencing investigations against the Judge.