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Judge dismisses Governor Samboja petition, refers it to criminal court in Nairobi

By Renson Mnyamwezi | Published Tue, January 16th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 15th 2018 at 23:10 GMT +3

Governor Granton Samboja on Monday got a reprieve after the High Court in Voi dismissed a petition challenging his election.

The petitioner had challenged Governor Samboja's election on August 8, over, among other grievances, the authenticity of his academic certificates.

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Presiding High Court judge Justice Erick Ogola struck out the petition, saying the matter can be competently handled by Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi, which is handling a similar case.

Early last year, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) launched a criminal probe leading to the prosecution of the governor at the Milimani court.

This came after Kenyatta University swore an affidavit that a certificate showing that Mr Samboja graduated at the institution was a forgery.

Samboja had challenged the petition, saying the electoral court should not go into the issue of his degree certificate because it was already before another court.

The High Court concurred.

“Milimani High Court is better placed to investigate the matter to its logical conclusion. It will be an exercise in futility if I continue with the case in the High Court in Voi. The Nairobi-based High Court is better placed to find out if the governor is not qualified to hold the position,” ruled the judge.

Justice Ogola defended his decision to dismiss the petition.

“The Milimani court which is handling a similar petition number 382 of 2017 has enough resources and personnel to investigate and handle the matter. It would be prejudicial if the two courts give two contradictory rulings,” said Justice Ogolla.

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The governor's supporters burst into celebrations following the ruling.

The celebrations turned chaotic after lawyers Edwin Sifuna and Miguna Miguna were manhandled outside the court, forcing them to flee as stones were hurled at their vehicles.

Sifuna and Miguna promised to address the Press later.