Damning revelations on Ahmednassir
Nairobi, Kenya: Judicial Service Commission ( JSC) member Ahmednassir Abdullahi head-hunted, coached and pushed for the appointment of Dr Willy Mutunga as Chief Justice, a witness claimed before a parliamentary committee yesterday.The damning allegations against one of the most vocal commissioners of the JSC was made by Brian Yongo, a man who claimed he was Ahmednassir’s close-friend-turned-foe at a stormy meeting of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee.
Yongo accused Ahmednassir of many eye-popping vices raging from sexual harassment of two women to having no valid practicing certificate.
Yongo further alleged that the straight-talking commissioner and lawyer solicited for sex from prostitutes.
MPs attributed the allegations to “vendetta” or “a deal gone sour”, but Yongo insisted that he had “the facts”. But even with the doubts about the veracity of the claims, the lawmakers admitted Yongo’s petition, thus giving it parliamentary privilege.
Buoyed by the safety offered by the parliamentary privilege, Yongo went on and told the MPs that Ahmednassir was his very close confidant, and that he confided “very many things” in him.
Yongo even repeated the allegations he made against Ahmednassir in his submission to the Public Investments Committee that the outspoken JSC commissioner peddled influence in the Judiciary with a view to determining the speed of adjudication of cases, and even how the decisions were made.
Yongo explained how one day, Ahmednassir picked him from his home in Kitisuru, took him to his (Ahmednassir’s) office at Mayfair Court in Parklands. “He told me to stay in the car,” said Yongo.
When he returned, Yongo said, he told him he was meeting Dr Mutunga. MPs heard about a meeting at Ahmednassir’s Karen residence that was attended by Dr Mutunga and city lawyer Paul Muite prior to Mutunga’s appointment.
Yongo said one day, just before the interviews of the top judicial officers, they were at a penthouse in Nairobi, which they shared and upon seeing Mutunga, Ahmednassir told him that he thoughtMutunga was best placed to lead the country’s Judiciary.
Yongo pleaded with the MPs to blacklist Ahmednassir from the roll of advocates; the roll of Senior Counsel; the roll of Law Society of Kenya and theJSC.
But the committee Chairman Samuel Chepkonga (Ainabkoi) said the committee was only addressing the suitability of Ahmednassir to continue sitting in the JSC.
Chepkonga led MPs in making a resolution to have the call records between Ahmednassir and Yongo obtained to ascertain the truth in the damning allegations made by Yongo.
Another petitioner, Leonard Kamweti, appeared before the committee and told a harrowing tale of how he was intimidated and sacked following the liaison betweenAhmednassir and Kamweti’s bosses at the National Bank of Kenya.
Kamweti, the former legal officer and much later the company secretary, said he was hounded out of his job after 17-years of service, within days of filing a complaint against Ahmednassir with the LSK.
The complaint had to do with confidential bank documents, which Ahmednassir “was distributing” within the corridors of the Judiciary.
Kamweti said he asked Ahmednassir, through a letter, how he got hold of the documents but he ignored him.
Meanwhile, Kamweti’s bosses at the National Bank of Kenya were jittery that crucial documents had been leaked, so they asked Ahmednassir how he got hold of them, and he said it was Kamweti who had given him the documents.
“I have never met him. We have never spoken. I have never even shaken his hand,” Kamweti told the MPs.
As the controversy raged, Ahmednassir went on air on a local TV station and said the complaint with LSK would be “withdrawn within a week”.
Within that very week, the Chairman of the National Bank of Kenya Abdirahman Hassan called Kamweti and asked him to withdraw the complaint or face the sack. Kamweti refused.
In the 12-days after he chose his credibility over the threat of losing his job, Kamweti, 51, received a letter sending him on early retirement. The decision had already been made, so all he was required to do was to “acknowledge receipt”.
It’s not the first time Kamweti has told MPs about the “dishonesty” of Ahmednassir.
He told the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee of the Tenth Parliament as it vetted Ahmednassir for the JSC slot, but that committee ignored his grievances.
Kamweti said he just wanted to see the Hansard of the committee to find out what had happened three-years ago that prompted the House to clear Ahmednassir.
The Justice and Legal Affairs Committee is reviewing a petition seeking to have six JSC commissioners; Ahmednassir, Samuel Kobia, Christine Mango, Mohammed Warsame, Emily Ominde and Florence Mwangangi dropped from the commission.
Riungu Nicholas Mugambi filed the petition with the National Assembly on October 4, seeking the concurrence of the House that the named commissioners be kicked out for “having contravened and violated the constitution and be removed from office”.
Mugambi, in his petition, says the JSC commissioners encroached on the mandate of the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Gladys Shollei by “purporting to approve or disapprove expenditure of monies allocated to the Judiciary, thereby causing inordinate delay in processing of salaries for judicial staff” contrary to Article 161(2)(c) of the Constitution.
Mugambi also noted in his petition that the commissioners directed that payments be done by persons who are not authorised to do so.
By ALPHONCE SHIUNDU, The Standard