Judge disqualifies herself from hearing Sonko case
Published on: January 21, 2020 11:08 (EAT)
Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi has disqualified herself from hearing the case involving Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko. This comes a month after the embattled Governor sought to have her recuse herself alongside her colleagues Grace Ngenye and John Onyiego. According to Sonko, the fact that the judges barred Governors Moses Lenolkulaal (Samburu) and Ferdinand Waititu (Kiambu) from office implied that they would be biased against him. Sonko further claimed that Justice John Onyiego, being the head of the Appellate Court, would tilt his judgement in favor of the previous ruling. In July last year, Lady Justice Ngugi ruled that “elected executives cannot continue attending office when facing corruption related charges.” She further posed: “…would it serve the public interest for a governor to go back to office and preside over the finances of the county that he has been charged with embezzling.” “What message does it send to the citizens if their leaders are charged with serious corruption offenses and are in office the following day, overseeing the affairs of the institution?” she added. The Governors then moved to the Court of Appeal to challenge the ruling. In the past, county leaders charged with an offense would plead not guilty, secure release by paying cash bail, and then return to their normal lives. Any other public officer including Cabinet Secretaries would be suspended based on Section 62 of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act of 2003 as soon as they were charged with an offense. In December however, the county governors were dealt a blow after Court of Appeal Judge Jamila Mohammed upheld the Justice Mumbi Ngugi ruling. Following her disqualification from the Sonko case, Lady Justice Ngugi has referred the case to the Principal Judge. It is to be mentioned on January 29.