Former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko’s lawyers led by Dr John Khaminwa have withdrawn from a Ksh10 million graft case against Sonko, citing frustrations from Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti.
Dr Khaminwa, who is the lead counsel, termed the proceedings as illegal, after Ogoti refused to grant them time to gather evidence on the case.
Addressing journalists after storming out of Milimani Courts, Khaminwa said that Ogoti also went against doctors’ advice, that sought to give Sonko more resting time.
“I do not want to participate in an illegal process. l have disqualified myself from the matter since l think l will be of no help to the former governor in the case as I do not have all the evidence documents and proper instruction from him,” said Dr Khaminwa.
Khaminwa also alleged that Ogoti barred the media from covering the matter on Tuesday.
Earlier on, Sonko had petitioned to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to have Ogoti recuse himself from the case, accusing him of being biased.
“That the conduct of the magistrate is one that is contrary to the principle and l call upon the commission to investigate the conduct of the magistrate and thereafter take appropriate disciplinary action, ” Sonko said.
On March 4, Ogoti refused to recuse himself from the case, terming the demands as threats.
“The same way this court holds the party with respect is the same way the court demands respect from the parties. They must submit to the rule of law,” stated Magistrate Ogoti.
According to Ogoti, asking the court to recuse itself amounts to threat, adding that there’s no evidence of personal bias.
“The applicant having been represented by able lawyers instead of filing an appeal opted for recusal, this is a conduct meant to threaten a judicial office. I do find no evidence of bias and hereby dismiss the application for it has no merit,” ruled Ogoti.
Ogoti also issued orders directing the court to not allow new applications either for adjournment or change of advocate during the date scheduled for hearing of the main suit.