Petitioner: Chitembwe asked to meet Uhuru over Sonko

Former city boss has published several videos and audios of the judge allegedly fixing his cases

In Summary

• In a petition filed at the Judicial Service Commision, petitioner Francis Wambua has asked JSC to remove Chitembwe from office, direct DCI and DPP to charge him.

• He claims credible information Amana Saidi Jirani, alleged to be judge Chitembwe’s relative, took a bribe on behalf of the judge to change the outcome of the Sonko’s case.

Justice Said Juma Chitembwe during his interview for position of Supreme Court Judge at the Supreme Court on May 3.
CHITEMBWE: Justice Said Juma Chitembwe during his interview for position of Supreme Court Judge at the Supreme Court on May 3.

A petitioner has claimed embattled High Court judge Said Chitembwe asked a lawyer to set up a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta over Mike Sonko's impeachment case.

In his papers filed at the Judicial Service Commission for the removal of Justice Chitembwe from office, Francis Wambua says the judge asked city lawyer Cecil Miller to arrange the meeting.

The petitioner said the judge was to get the President's own opinion about Sonko's impeachment case.

Wambua argues he has filed the petition as a citizen who is gravely concerned about the independence, impartiality, competence and integrity of judicial officers and the quality of the decisions they make.

He has faulted Chitembwe for discussing with third parties the merits of the case pending in court and presided over by him. He also faults him  for failing to disqualify himself from the matter when he knew he was faced with conflict of interest.

Wambua has told the JSC there is evidence of the  telephone conversation between a lawyer, one Mwadumbo, and Justice Chitembwe in which the judge confirms the details.

The petitioner says the judge claimed he had been approached by lawyer Miller and Nairobi County Assembly majority leader Abdi Guyo asking him to rule against Sonko.

The petitioner alleges that in the same audio recording Miller confirms that State House wanted the governor out of office.

“Miller confirms he was with State House officials who confirmed there is no truce and the Honourable judge should proceed to fix Sonko in the said judgment,” the petition reads.

However, unconvinced, the judge then asked Miller for a physical meeting with the President to hear directly from the head of state whether he indeed wanted Sonko out.

Wambua claims there was a lengthy discussion involving Sonko's cases  to influence their outcome.

Chitembwe presided over the bench that heard Sonko's case.

“This evidence can be availed by Safaricom whereby the phone numbers of the aforesaid individuals will demonstrate they were all at the same location,” the petition reads.

Wambua claims that Miller was acting at the behest of Nairobi City County MCAs and a county executive committee member in a desperate bid to have his legal fees paid.

And by so doing he engaged a man identified only as Jirani who is alleged to be Justice Chitembwe’s relative.

He further claims  he has reliable information that Guyo and Miller visited judge Chitembwe at his residence in Mountain View Estate.

If the JSC finds wrong doing on the part of the judge, the petitioner wants Chitembwe prosecuted for fraud.

He wants JSC to initiate Chitembwe's removal from office and to direct the DCI and DPP to charge him.

“Remove Justice Chitembwe from judicial office on accounts (of) fraudulent and corrupt dealings by him and to direct the relevant agencies, i.e. the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, to investigate and institute criminal charges against him, respectively,” the petition reads.

Wambua claims the comments allegedly made by the judge amount to gross misconduct. He refers to viral audio and videotapes on social media touching on Sonko’s impeachment cases that he presided over.

“The petitioner contends that Honourable Justice Chitembwe had ceased to be independent and impartial within the meaning of Article 160(1) of the Constitution which donates judicial independence to the Judiciary,” the petition reads.

He claims he has credible information that Amana Saidi Jirani, alleged to be judge Chitembwe’s relative, took a bribe on behalf of the judge to change the outcome of Sonko’s case.

“The petitioner contends that he is aware and he has tangible and credible information that Jirani is a nominee, proxy and a relative to Honourable Justice Chitembwe,” Wambua says.

He further argues that judge Chitembwe has been using Jirani as his agent and proxy in his dealings.

Wambua said the Sonko petitions at the High Court were dismissed by the bench and the judgment delivered were on account of fraud and corrupt dealings by Judge Chitembwe.

Wambua wants JSC to investigate the purpose of the monies received by Jirani on behalf of Justice Chitembwe

“I also have in my possession M-Pesa transactions and Bank RTGS statements evidencing the various payments made to Amana Said,” he says.,

Wambua has argued  the judge used his office as if it was an enterprise and his receipt of bribes enabled him to package judgments specifically for the bribers. These actions are against the law and the spirit of the constitution, he said.

He has also told JSC to note the personal attacks in the Sonko judgment by the three-judge bench were not issues of character and were not pleaded in the pleadings culminating in the judgments “and this buttresses the malafides."

Wambua says that the purpose of the petition is to protect society and future litigants from corrupt practices and the incompetence of judges.

“The judge demonstrated open bias, malice, prejudice and ineptitude against His Excellency, Honourable Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko, which actions were actuated by malice and conflict of interest,” Wambua says.

According to the petition, the judge confessed to Sonko that he had delivered a faulty judgment and he could criticise it at the Court of Appeal.

Last week, during a TV interview at KTN NEWS, the judge termed the leaked videos by Sonko a setup.

Judge Chitembwe said that the videos unleashed on social media by Sonko were meant to tarnish his name after he dismissed the case challenging the swearing-in of Governor Ann Kananu.

“I highly suspect that it was Jimmy taking videos because Sonko was on my left…I didn’t invite them to my sitting room…unknown to me, this was a setup. Later on my friends told me that whoever was wearing the goggles (Jimmy) was taking pictures,” Chitembwe said.

Chitembwe said that the videos were taken around July, after delivering the judgment on Kananu’s case, adding that he did not receive any amount of money as claimed.

“There was no money to be paid, the videos were edited to frame me…the amounts being floated were not known to me, I just heard them in the video,” Chitembwe said.

Judge Chitembwe was arrested in his chambers by DCI officers in July alongside Judge Aggrey Muchelule but they were later released.

In his response to court, he claimed that being found with US dollars is not unusual as his family operates a foreign currency account.

Chitembwe asked why the police suspected him of fraud when they found him in possession of $7,000 in his pocket when he was arrested alongside Justice Aggrey Muchelule.

(Edited by V. Graham)