Senior Counsel Prof Tom Ojienda for Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi for Kakamega senator Bonny Khalwal engage on bitter exchange in a courtroom at Milimani law courts on Friday 31 July,2015..
BY SAM ALFAN.
The defamation case pitting Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero against Kakamega senator Bonnie Khalwale took yet another dramatic turn when the lawyer representing the Governor Prof Tom Ojienda asked Khalwale’s lead council AhmedNassir to withdraw from the case since he will be summoned as a witness in the matter.
This is after Ahmednasir made an application seeking the alleged interparty orders issued against the senator restraining him from defaming Kidero lifted saying you can’t silence people to discuss about Mumias.
Justice Joseph Kiplagat Sergon then made a ruling saying they must deal with the application seeking Ahmednasir to dismiss him from the matter first before they proceed.
His ruling generated a lot of heat in the courtroom after agitated grand mulla accused the judge of not recording his application and issuing orders that never focused on his application.
AhmedNassir also made an oral application wanting Justice Joseph Kiplagat Sergon to withdraw him from the suit citing impartiality.
“ I made a submission on certain application, I made an application why you should discharge your order, my learned friend replied on the same issues now you’re saying my application is not for the record and you made a order on application on why I should disqualify myself, who should disqualify between me and himself? He is on the record and there’s a report on KPMG of his involvement over this matter “Ahmednasir told the judge.
H e told the judge to disqualify himself from hearing the matter since they didn’t have confidence with him on the way he’s handling the matter.
“My lord my I make it clear, I don’t think the way you have conducted this matter gives us any confidence that you are partial in this matter” said furious Ahmednasir.
He said the matter should be placed before the division presiding judge Msagha Mbogholi to allocate the matter to another judge to handle the matter.
Kakamega senator Bonnie Khalwale insists that he is ready to tender evidence in court against Kidero in the controversial Mumias Sugar company case.
The Kidero versus Khalwale suit where the Governor is accusing Kakamega senator of defaming him has been characterized by drama.
And that drama which saw supporters for both the politicians turn Milimani law courts into a battle ground a fortnight ago made its way to the court room today.
Professor Tom Ojienda for Kidero and Ahmed Nassir for Khalwale at one time were both competing to address justice Joseph Sergon with Ojienda insisting that Ahmed Nassir must withdraw his services for the senator since he was involved in another arbitration process for Mumias Sugar Company, and as such he will not be objective.
But AhmedNassir could hear none of that saying that, his job in the arbitration process has got nothing to do with the current defamation suit.
Instead asked the adjudicating judge Joseph Sergon to withdraw himself from the case citing lack of
Today there was heavy security presence ready for any eventuality like one witnessed two weeks ago where supporters for both politicians were involved in running battles.
Yesterday consumer lobby group has been locked out of defamation suit brought against senator Bonn Khalwale and Nairobi County Governor Evans Kidero. Joseph Sergon dismissed the application by Cofek seeking to be enjoined as interested party to the defamation case on ground that the organization did not demonstrate the public interest in the matter.
“COFEK has demonstrated that it is supporting the Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale in this matter” said justice Sergon.
The judge said the matter between two leaders touches on public statements made by Khalwale linking Kidero to corruption at Mumias Sugar Company during his nine years tenure.
Justice Sergon said that the application by the organization as presented to the court by its lawyer Henry Kurauka lacked merits.
He said that the matter can be determined by the two parties who are before the court.The consumer federation body made the application to be enjoined on the matter through their lawyer Henry Kurauka claiming they had direct interest in respect of the outcome in the matter.
“Among other reasons, dictated by the fact that the proceedings under this matter have the real potential to reduce a matter of monumental public interest such as the collapse of the largest sugar company to a defamation suit between the two parties” said COFEK.
They argued that the outcome of the Court has the real potential to prejudice sugar consumers as well as overall public interest since the reducing the anti-corruption whistle-blowing to defamation, at the first instance, without substantively investigating the Plaintiff’s potential role in the collapse of Mumias Sugar Company, where he was a CEO for 9 years, is likely to affect the parallel investigations carried out by among others the audit firm KPMG East Africa, National Assembly and other competent agencies.
Two weeks ago,High court has issued orders restraining Kakamega senator Dr Bonn Khalwale from making defamatory statement against Nairobi County Governor Dr Evans Kidero touching financial scandal facing Mumia sugar company.
Justice Joseph Sergon said Khalwale should desist from making any defamatory statements concerning Kidero in relation to the management of Mumias Sugar Limited.
This is after the Nairobi governor moved to court through his lawyer Professer Tom Ojienda to over Khalwale remarks that linked him to the collapse of Mumias Company.
Through his lawyer Prof Tom Ojienda, Kidero claimed that Khalwale slandered his name by depicting him as corrupt, a swindler and a fraudster.
“On the fight of corruption I will support you, Mumias did not just die. You should pursue the criminals. The criminals who looted Mumias are led by their prefect governor Kidero, hold them accountable,” Khalwale told President Uhuru Kenyatta
Kidero said that Khalwale continues to engage in bad publicity, character assassination and incitement of public spite against him.
Kidero claimed that the word published by Khalwale were malicious, false and reckless and were only meant to injure his reputation and his standing among right thinking members of the society.
He said the defamatory words by Khalwale were likely to attract a public spite from the public particularly among the residents of Nairobi where he serves as the governor and also investors of Mumias Sugar Company Limited where he served as the Managing Director.
He said unless Khalwale was restrained by the court, he was apprehensive that his reputation will further irretrievable tainted and suffer irreparably.
The Senator had called for the arrest of Dr Kidero, alleging that he was among those behind the collapse of Mumias Sugar Company, where he worked as a managing director.
In a sworn affidavit Kidero stated that when he joined Mumias Sugar Company as the Managing Director, he found a rundown company that was on the verge of collapse.
He said that with dedication and support of board of directors and the Management team of the company, Mumias Sugar Company became a success story year out till the time he left the company.
Kidero said after demanding an apology letter from Khalwale he went further to defame him in a press conference.
“During the press Conference on June ne 26, the defendant deliberately failed, refused or neglected to inform the public that the said slanderous and libelous words were solely based on the unconcluded KPMG report dated on December 18, 2014.This notwithstanding, the
Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale has three days to apologise for calling Evans Kidero the “prefect of thieves” or be sued, the Nairobi governor has said.
Kidero said is a letter Khalwale faces a defamation suit if he fails to apologise for his use of “malicious, false’ and reckless” words to taint the governor’s name during a gathering in Mumias on Wednesday.
“We have instructions to seek other incidental remedies against you without further notice or reference to you at your own risk as to costs and attendant consequences,” read a letter to Khalwale from Kidero’s lawyer Tom Ojienda.
“Our client demands that you immediately and unconditionally prominently publish an apology to Kidero in at least two newspapers of national circulation, in the next three days”.
Defendant proceeded to make unqualified adverse allegations about what he perceived as indictments against me in my management of Mumias Sugar Company Limited,” stated Kidero in an affidavit.
Prof Ojienda had asked Khalwale to publish the apology in at least two newspapers of national circulation.
Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale responded to Kidero- “Someone is cheating you. You must be dreaming to expect an apology haa! I serve the interests of Kakamega County. It is your responsibility to clear your name from the KPMG report. Bring it on, I’m always ready,” he said on his twitter account
Kidero claims that Khalwale has continued to defame him even on his twitter account.
Justice Joseph Sergon certified the matter urgent and restrained Khalwale to utter more words against Kidero.
The case will be heard on the 9th of September.