Two appellate judges have sued the Nation Media Group(NMG)for defamation arising from articles broadcast and published in its platforms linking the judges to fraudulent on directions they issued on IEBC electoral officers during 2017 electioneering period.
Justice Martha Koome and Justice Fatuma Sichale, say in the plaint filed through their lawyer Macharia Kahonge that on November 2 2017 the defendant falsely and maliciously broadcast and published a defamatory article against them.
The publication in issue defamed the judges as it portrayed them as fraudulent and partisan to Jubilee Party, corrupt, dishonest incompetent judges and having no moral fibre, and that they had breached Chapter 6 of the constitution on leadership and integrity, their lawyer says.
” The appeal court is on edge, following allegations from a court officer that stay orders issued last week, on Wednesday by a court of appeal, after a high court judge, Justice Odunga found that electoral officers in office were irregularly and unlawfully in office were fraudulent. He says the purported three bench made of Justice Erastus Githinji, Martha Koome and Fatuma Sichale did not sit, Mboya claims only Githinji issued the orders without a formal sitting…” the murky court papers read.
The orders were then allegedly circulated to Martha Koome and Fatuma to sign…” they say.
The judges say that Mboya was quoted as saying that the appeal was never filed in the court registry and that registry staff were being coerced to back date them.
Manipulate court officers
Its averred in the plaint that the defendant on November 6 2017 in the NTV news broadcast insinuated that the two judges issued fraudulent orders and that they were part of attempt to manipulate court officers at appeal registry.
It was broadcast that ” orders suspending ruling on IEBC returning officers were fraudulent,” says the lawyer.
Lawyer Kahonge points out that the articles as broadcast and published insinuated that appellate judges had ill motive by working on the October 25 2017 which happened to be a public holiday “so that they could rule in favor of one party in the case which they handled that same date.”
He says that notwithstanding the defendants on the February 25 2018 in the Sunday Nation newspaper at page 12 falsely and maliciously published an article entitled ” Jubilee to fix judiciary, rolling full steam ahead” by writer Walter Menya.
At the hearing of the defamation suit the judges will be seeking for general damages and exemplary damages.