Former powerful Cabinet minister Dr Chris Murungaru with his lawyer Kioko Kilukumi outside Milimani law courts after they were informed justice David Onyancha has decided to withdraw from hearing the case as he cannot allow his judicial discretion to be put in reputation.
BY SAM ALFAN.
There was an attempt to judge David Onyancha to interfere with the former powerful Cabinet minister Chris Murungaru versus John Gitongo Anglo Leasing defamation case.
Murangaru protested the move saying some powerful people were blocking his fight to clear his name which was tarnished by the famous “Gothongo Dossier
The judge who did not disclose much about the issue said he had decided to withdraw from the case as he cannot allow his judicial discretion to be put in reputation.
Murungaru said he was disappointed with the judge decision since he was having full confidence with the judge in hearing the suit that has lasted for the last 10years.
“Am very disappointed with the news we have received today and I will write a letter to judicial service commission complaining on the interference of judicial officers by some powerful forces who wanted to influence judge decisions” said Murungaru.
Former Minister further said he will seek the judge to expose the powerful person who attempted to influence his decision that led the judge to withdraw from the case as he cannot allow his judicial discretion to be put in reputation.
“An attempt to interfere with my judicial discretion and independence has been made in this case. After giving the issue sufficient consideration. I have decided to cease from presiding in further proceedings of the suit,” Onyancha said.
The judge said he had discussed the issue with the head of civil division judge Mbogholi Msagha for the purpose of relocating it to another judge to its completion.
In hearing the suit yesterday, Msagha said he will not compel judge Onyancha to explain why he had withdrawn from the suit which Murungaru accuses Githongo of linking him to the multi-billion Anglo Leasing scandal which was a pack of falsehoods?
The judge said returning the file to Onyancha to state the reason why he had dismissed himself from the suit which arose due to the scandal which hit President Kibaki’s early days will not alter his order to withdraw from the suit.
“I am of the view that the disclosure of the reasons as to why the learned judge has recused may be served through other means because the return of the file to him to state the reasons may not alter his order to excuse himself,” Mbogholi said.
He added: “I shall therefore not return the file to Onyancha as requested by the plaintiff counsel (Kioko Kilukumi) for him to state the reason. I order that the proceedings be typed and allocated to another judge”
Earlier, Kilukumi said the judge has a duty to disclose why he had dismissed himself from the suit or else he becomes part of the accomplice in interfering with the case.
“My client filed the suit nine years ago. He has given evidence, called his witnesses and closed his case.My client wonders if he will get justice before the next judge without full disclosure,” he said.
Lawyer Andrew Wandabwa for Githongo said he was equally baffled with the new development as his client had cut short a visit to Stratford University in the United States to attend to the case.
“The file should be returned to the judge to state to us the reasons why he had withdrawn from the case,” Wandabwa said.
The case was to continue yesterday with witnesses among them former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Nation Editor Joseph Odindo expected to testify in defence of Githongo.
The case will be mentioned on April 16 for further directions.