High Court Judge, Justice Said Juma Chitembwe has come out to speak about the viral video clips posted by former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko which linked him to bribery in a disputed land court case.
Chitembwe claimed the videos were edited to frame him adding that Sonko was seeking vengeance because Chitembwe was one of three judges who dismissed his petition against Anne Kananu’s inauguration as Nairobi governor.
“It is not a coincidence that the videos were released on the day of Ann Kananu’s swearing-in. He was angry the petition did not go through. He is on record asking why I dismissed the case yet I am his uncle. The videos were released out of anger,” said Chitembwe in a Wednesday interview with KTN News.
Chitembwe also claimed that he and Sonko have been friends for a long time, but that things changed when he filed a petition in December last year to prevent his then-deputy Ann Kananu from being sworn in as governor.
He stated that he had not been approached to act as an intermediary or ‘fixer’ in the case and that he had not been paid.
“There was no money to be paid, the videos were edited to frame me,” said Chitembwe.
“Let the videos go round because they are edited to fit a particular narrative. Some parts have been left. I knew about the existence of the videos in July and it was just a matter of when they would be out,” he added.
Sonko shared a series of video recordings on Tuesday of a meeting between a man claiming to be Chitembwe’s brother soliciting and receiving a bribe on the judge’s behalf.
Chitembwe, on the other hand, denied any ties to the alleged brother, claiming that they only live in the same rural area.
“That man is not my brother, not my uncle and our parents are not related. However, I have known him for over 10 years because we both come from Kwale,” he said.
The judge claimed that the video was taken by a foreign consulate official with whom he had been friends since the 1990s.
He claimed he had hosted the consulate in his home on the day the video was taken to discuss a piece of land he was going to buy from Sonko, claiming the consulate was afraid of being conned.
“He pleaded with me to allow him to come to my house with the politician whom I had cut links with earlier. He was afraid he might be conned. I allowed the three of them to come to my house,” he said.
“We were not trying to compromise any court case that day. They were pursuing appellants, asking them to withdraw the case for an out of court settlement,” he said.
The Nairobi Branch chairman of the Law Society of Kenya, Eric Theuri, issued a statement on Wednesday calling on Chitembwe to step aside immediately and allow for investigations.
However, Chitembwe told Theuri to avoid using the press and reach him directly, dismissing the matter as a non-issue.
“Theuri should come to me directly and avoid press conferences. To me, this is a non-issue because it is a plotted revenge,” he said.
He said whoever had any accusations to make against him was free to lodge a complaint with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and the DCI.
In July, Chitembwe was arrested alongside two judges amid claims that they were intending to receive a bribe.
He told the court in September that being found with $7,000 (equivalent to Ksh. 785,000) in his pocket when he was arrested in July was not unusual, because his family has a foreign currency account.
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