Sunday, 7 February 2016

Why Judge Philip Tunoi is 'Dead Meat' in Kenya ?

  • It has been a few painfully uncomfortable days at Kenya’s top court, the Supreme Court, following bribery claims against Justice Philip Tunoi. And Chief Justice Willy Mutunga prepares for his final lap at the helm of the country’s judicial hierarchy, there seems to be a few loose ends at the Supreme Court. The spotlight was on the judiciary as it investigated claims that a Supreme Court judge may have been paid up to 200 million shillings to influence the outcome of an election petition, challenging Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero’s election in the 2013 election.

  • Legal experts and observers now maintain that embattled Supreme Court Judge Philip Tunoi is in serious trouble, and would rather resign than face a tribunal for investigations on claims that he received a Sh200 Million bribe to influence the outcome of an election petition.
    Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Chairman Eric Mutua, stated that the only 'viable' option left for Justice Tunoi was either resign or retire before the tribunal set to be formed by President Uhuru Kenyatta commences investigations against him.
    "With the kind of evidence that has been adduced so far, he requires a miracle to come out of this. But even if he were to survive by that miracle, the damage will have been done. The only viable option left is resignation or retirement before the tribunal picks," Mr Mutua said.

    According to Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi, whether Judge Tunoi decides to take the path of clearing his name through a tribunal or decides to retire, he is 'dead meat' and not even resignation would save him.
    "What is there for him to counter such evidence?  I personally don't think he will face that tribunal. He will run away. If he does that, the DPP will charge and prosecute him. Either way he is dead meat," Abdullahi said.
    LSK CEO Apollo Mboya, observed that with the Judicial Service Commission Committee having found that Justice Tunoi was culpable in the bribery allegations, his fate was sealed and he can't survive the tribunal.
    "If I was him, and I am not advising him, I would take my pension of 35 years instead of waiting for the obvious and disgraceful removal. Effectively, parts of the allegations have been proved way before the tribunal starts its work," The Standard quotes Justice Tunoi.
    However, Justice Tunoi, who has a career spanning 35 years, remains put  that he will face the tribunal and defend hiself against claims that he received Sh200 Million from Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, to rule in his favour in a petition that had been filed by the incumbent Kabete Member of Parliament Ferdinand Waititu.
    In the event that the Supreme Court Judge is absolved of any blame by the tribunal, LSK Chairman said: "In that unlikely event, he will go back to work and continue dispensing his duties, assuming the courts will have ruled on his matter of retirement".
    The Judge has remained on the headlines for the past two weeks, after whistleblower Geoffrey Kiplagat came out on the media claiming that he was at the heart of the alleged bribery deal.
    A Judicial Service Commission Committee on Friday released its report after summoning those mentioned in the scandal, where they found the Judge stood to be blamed in the Sh200 Million scandal.
    The committee directed President Kenyatta to set up a tribunal, that will investigate the bribery accusations leveled against Judge Tunoi.

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