AG wants bench to hear Ahmednasir case against Supreme Court ban

Senior lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi. [Evans Habil, Standard]

The Attorney General on Wednesday proposed to have the cases stemming from senior lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi's ban by the Supreme Court be heard by more than one Judge.

 Appearing before High Court Judge Chacha Mwita, state counsel Emmanuel Bitta argued that the decision to ban Ahmednasir, his law firm and associates raised serious issues that needed an expanded bench to hear and determine. 

He also said that the case raised novel issues on whether Supreme Court Judges can be sued in person and whether a High Court can entertain a case emanating from the apex court either administrative or judicial functions.

“The issues constitute substantial issues of law requires a larger bench considering whether parties in a manner they have been sued. Even without an application to certify,” said Bitta.

On the other hand, Chief Justice Martha Koome, her deputy Philomena Mwilu and Justices Mohammed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala, Njoki Ndung’u, Isaac Lenaola and William Ouko said they will ask the court to strike out the cases.

Their lawyers James Oduor, Millie Odari and  Kamau Karori were of the view that the court has no powers to hear the cases.

“We are raising jurisdictional issue in this matter. The challenge is the same in the three cases. Our response is that we file a preliminary objection and come on February 26,” said Kamau.

In the case, Ahmednasir Abdullahi LLP alongside its 10 associates argued that the ban does not enjoy immunity from being challenged before the lower courts as it lacks legality. 

The associates who are before the court are Asli Osman, Peter Muchoki, Irene Jelagat, Esther Amboko, Cohen Amanya, Khadijah Said, Elizabeth Wangui, Bernard Ongeri, Tony Kiprotich and Mohammed Billow. 

“The ban which is for an unspecified period of time is a draconian step against the petitioners and all advocates presently and in future, working for the first petitioner firm from representing any client at the Supreme Court,” their lawyer Issa Mansur argued. 

Mansur told the court that judges of the topmost court abused their power as they did not give his clients an opportunity to be heard before issuing the ban. 

He argued that they failed to disclose which part of the Supreme Court Act, the Fair Administrative Action Act and Advocates Act that they were relying on. 

“In so far as the decision sanctions and or regulates the professional conduct of Mr Ahmednasir Abdullahi SC, no disciplinary proceedings have been instituted against the said senior counsel in respect to the matters complained in the said letter,” he said. 

Further, Mansur said that all others who were not a part of the standoff between the lawyer and the judges will suffer without being informed what sins they had committed. 

“While it is evident that the actions taken by the first to seventh respondents is targeted at Mr Ahmednasir Abdullahi, it is pertinently clear that the petitioners stand to suffer in the dispute,” the court heard. 

He asserted that any of the seven judges who is aggrieved by the lawyer’s comments should sue him. 

“In fact, the arbitrary decision of the seven judges constituting the Supreme Court conveyed through the letter dated January 18, 2024 at paragraph four acknowledges that indeed the decision conveyed therein shall have adverse impact on clients who may have instructed the first petitioner to represent them but does not offer any remedy to mitigate the harshness of the wholly inappropriate action,” said Mansur.