Kenya Proposes Delay for Tribunal Probing Supreme Court Judge

Kenya said it won’t suspend a Supreme Court judge hit by bribery allegations and suggested postponing the naming of a tribunal to probe the claims while an appeal court decides if he should be considered retired.

Authorities won’t name the panel to investigate the allegations against judge Philip Tonui until the Court of Appeal rules on whether he’s considered retired from office as he’s over 70 years old, the head of Kenya’s Public Service, Joseph Kinyua, said in an e-mailed statement.

Tonui, who denies the bribery allegations, was appointed before the constitutional restriction on the age of judges was introduced. Implementing the Judicial Service Commission’s recommendation “would create a constitutional crisis,” Kinyua said.

The commission on Feb. 5 said that President Uhuru Kenyatta should name a tribunal within 14 days to probe the claims about Tonui. A special committee of the commission found the judge culpable of bribery allegations.

“The consequence of such action by the president is that after the lapse of the 14 days tomorrow, such a tribunal may not be formed,” the Law Society of Kenya said Monday in an e-mailed statement. “Irrespective of the decision by the Court of Appeal, the Hon. Justice Tonui may never be investigated.”

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