Politics and policy
Court refers Tatu City case to judge
Posted Tuesday, February 21 2012 at 19:52
The head of Commercial Court Division Justice Daniel Musinga, on Tuesday referred the multi-billion shilling Tatu City case to Mr Justice Jonathan Havelock and urged him to deal with the pending applications.
In a ruling that seemed to persuade Mr Justice Havelock to pursue and determine the pending matters, Mr Justice Musinga said his “learned brother” was properly seized of the dispute and he (Mr Musinga) had no powers to disqualify him from handling the case.
“Ordinarily, an application seeking disqualification of a judge conducting a matter should be heard before the judge himself,” said Mr Musinga. But the judge said Mr Justice Havelock felt offended by an affidavit by one of the directors representing majority shareholders who sought his disqualification for alleged conflict of interest.
Mr Musinga asked the judge to give appropriate directions “so that the matter can make progress.”
“I believe the judge will appreciate that as things stand now, I can’t proceed to hear the pending applications or direct any of the judges in the division to do so,” ruled Mr Musinga and directed that the matter be mentioned before Mr Justice Havelock on Friday.
In a ruling last December, Mr Justice Havelock said: “I find myself so offended by the contents of the supporting affidavit by Josephat Kibogo Kinyua that I do not think I am going to be able to make a just and unprejudiced decision on the application before me.”
Yesterday’s ruling by Mr Justice Musinga comes in the wake of accusations against Mr Justice Havelock by majority shareholders that the judge acted for Tatu City’s sister company Kofinaf while in private practice as a partner at Kaplan and Stratton Advocates.
Mr Kinyua has also accused the judge of being acquainted with one of the minority shareholder Stephen Mbugua Mwangiru and “his failure to disclose this fact undermines his authority and impartiality to sit as a judge to determine the dispute.”