High Court judge George Odunga yesterday bowed out of the procurement dispute involving the suspended audit of the national voter register.
Consequently, the petition lodged by Cord against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will be assigned a different judge on Monday.
However, Justice Odunga rejected demands by the IEBC to have the file forwarded to Chief Justice David Maraga to appoint a three-judge-bench to handle the case on the basis that the contentious issues required urgent adjudication and IEBC had strict constitutional time-lines for the impending General Election.
The judge said there were no exceptional circumstances to justify any delay in the resolution of the dispute since Cord was challenging the award of the tender by IEBC to international audit firm, KPMG, to scrutinise the voter register as soon as the countrywide voter registration exercise is concluded.
Any party aggrieved by the outcome of the case had the right of challenge to the Court of Appeal, he said. The Judge was categorical that the submissions raised by the IEBC for his exclusion “do not meet the test for the recusal or disqualification of a judge.”
Judges voluntarily handed over specific files to their colleagues without necessarily disqualifying themselves, he said. The parties will now appear on Monday before the Presiding Judge of the Constitutional and Human Rights Division, Justice Enock Chacha, for further directions.
Cord is represented by Siaya Senator James Orengo, IEBC by lawyer Wambua Kilonzo while Kiragu Kimani appears for KPMG as an interested party.