Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti of the Anti-Corruption Court on Thursday, March 4 declined to recuse himself from former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko’s 14 million graft case.
He ruled that Sonko’s application for him to recuse himself from the case amounts to the threatening of judicial officers and that there was no evidence of bias.
“To ask a court to disqualify itself against orders which have not been appealed amounts to a threat to judicial officers” ruled Ogoti.
Sonko wanted the no-nonsense magistrate to recuse himself from the case, arguing that the court had a predetermined outcome.
During the court session, Ogoti pointed out that bias can only be proven on the basis of personal or extra-judicial grounds for a magistrate to rescue themself from a case.
Stating the reasons for judicial officers to remove themselves from a case he ruled that, where the judicial officer is a party or has previously acted for a party or has a financial gain in the matter.
The magistrate, quoting from the ruling by Nairobi Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku, said suspects must submit to the rule of law and if not satisfied by the outcome, they can always appeal.
“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 the law,” he said in his ruling.
This court session comes after the Anti-Corruption Police Unit (ACPU) failed to present the embattled former governor in court as had been ordered.
Ezekiel Lulei, ATPU Deputy OCS told the court he couldn’t comply with the order since there is another existing directive from Kahawa Law Courts that hinders the unit from interrogating or getting Sonko from the hospital.
At the time, the former Governor was in the hospital after he suffered stomach complications earlier while in jail.