Bribery claims rock Supreme Court after upholding election of Wajir governor
Two days after the Supreme Court upheld the election of Wajir Governor Mohamud Abdi, lawyers for his opponents have vowed to reveal what they believe are bribery allegations that should be investigated.
Lawyers for Governor Abdi’s opponents, former governor Ahmed Abdullahi and Mr Ahmed Muhumed Abdi, are preparing a petition against some judges of the apex court for allegedly being compromised to rule in favour of the incumbent.
Sources at the Supreme Court also indicated the Chief Justice was keen to have previous allegations on the case checked to protect the integrity of the apex court.
Lawyers Ahmednasir Abdullahi and Omwanza Ombati say they have what they claim to be evidence of cash withdrawals from three local banks and bribery facilitated by an MP from North Eastern Kenya. They also claim that in their letter to be delivered to the Chief Justice, they will show how the plot also involved transactions in Dubai. Mr Abdullahi and Mr Omwanza also allege they will provide evidence of property sold in Eastleigh as part of the deal.
The lawyers will also raise issues on the delay in issuing the ruling, which the Judiciary dismissed last week in a detailed timeline released to the public. On Saturday, Mr Ombati still asked why it took almost 10 months to determine “an open and shut” case.
Of the 27 election petitions that went to the Supreme Court, only two have had the Supreme Court split in their decision: the first presidential election petition which was a four to two victory for opposition the National Super Alliance, and the appeal by the Wajir governor, also a four to two outcome. With six judges sitting, there was the possibility of a tie in the Wajir decision as Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu who is battling a court case has not been hearing the poll petitions.
“We are not condemning the whole court but we are not afraid to say there are rotten ones among them,” said Mr Abdullahi.
As of Saturday, the lawyers said they already have seven witnesses who will support their petition to the Chief Justice.
The Wajir Governor moved to the Supreme Court after both the High Court and Court of Appeal nullified his election in 2017 on among other grounds, his lack of a university degree which is a prerequisite for those interested in governor’s position.
The Chief Justice was not available for comment Saturday.
“CJ is not able to respond to this today,” his chief of staff, Dr Conrad Bosire, said. Mr Abdullahi claimed he had earlier notified the CJ on the allegations “but he did not get back to us”, prompting the latest move.
But lawyer Nelson Havi, who was part of the governor’s legal team, dismissed claims of bribery, saying it was a case of sour grapes.
“Mr Abdullahi has formed a habit of complaining every time a matter does not go his way. The allegations on bribery have no foundation,” he said.
Mr Havi said that cases are determined on the basis of law and facts adduced before the court.
“If there was bribery, he should have petitioned the JSC earlier before the judgement was delivered. But he is complaining because he lost fair and square,” he said.