Chebukati slaps petitioner with Sh31m bill in election servers case

Activist Khelef Khalifa. [File, Standard]

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati has sent activist Khelef Khalifa a Sh31 million bill in a case on 2017 election servers.

Mr Khalifa had sued Mr Chebukati before the High Court, arguing that the IEBC boss should not oversee the August elections until he obeys Supreme Court orders to open servers.

However, High Court Justice Hedwig Ong’undi agreed with Mr Chebukati that the court had no powers to entertain the case.

Mr Chebukati now wants Mr Khalifa to pay Sh26 million to cater for his lawyer’s fees.

At the same time, Mr Chebukati has billed Mr Khalifa Sh10,000 for each day his lawyer attended the court. According to Mr Chebukati, his lawyer attended court seven times.

He is also seeking Sh4.2 million tax. From the bill, the least that Mr Chebukati is demanding is Sh100.

He alleges this amount (Sh100) is for perusing, reading and understanding ODM leader Raila Odinga and his 2017 running mate Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka’s papers.

Mr Odinga gave Mr Khalifa’s case a wide berth.

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati. [File, Standard]

Mr Odinga’s lawyers Jackson Awele, Winnie Makaba and Ochieng Oginga told court their client did not wish to take sides but would abide with whatever outcome handed by the court.

“We shall abide by the court’s direction,” said Mr Awele.

 On the other hand, Mr Musyoka backed Mr Chebukati by asking the court to dismiss the case.

Mr Musyoka, in his submissions argued that the case filed by Mr Khalifa ought to have been filed before the Supreme Court, which issued the orders.

The former prime minister and former vice president are listed as interested parties in the case.
“We submit that this Court does not have jurisdiction to entertain the application herein,” stated Mr Musyoka. According to him, the High Court has no powers to hear the case.

At the same time, the former VP argued that in the event the High Court finds that it has powers to hear the case, it should be aware that Khalifa did not attach a valid order from the Supreme Court.

The activist’s lawyer Willis Otieno argued that Chebukati knowingly disobeyed Supreme Court orders to open the servers.