I didn’t mean judge is biased: Witness

By: PHILIP MUYANGA

A witness in a case involving widows of Mombasa tycoon Shahid Butt yesterday said he did not mean in his affidavit that the judge was compromised.

Mr Peter Khainga, a clerk at a law firm, said what he meant was that the matter would be decided by the court.

Mrs Regine Butt is engaged in a battle over the control of Sh5 billion assets with Mrs Akhtar Butt and her son, Haroon Butt.

In his affidavit, Mr Khainga said he talked to Mr Peter Kaluma, representing Mrs Regine Butt, who told him that they were not interested in talks to settle the matter as it was ‘fixed’ and the court would give them everything needed.

Mr Khainga told the court that he did not mean that Mr Kaluma had fixed the matter with the judge.

The witness said he meant that the case had been fixed for hearing.

Mrs Akhtar Butt and her son have filed an application seeking to have Justice Edward Muriithi disqualify himself from the succession cases involving them, Mrs Regine Butt and her mother, Roselinde Ostertag.

They say the judge “has demonstrated open bias against” them.

Mrs Akhtar Butt told the court that her son informed her that Mr Khainga had called and told him that Mr Kaluma would ground all companies.

Mrs Butt and her son said that in two other rulings for a separate case, the judge used words and phrases which showed that he was biased against them.

“The parties will be greatly prejudiced should the judge proceed to hear and determine the dispute,” read part of their application.

In her replying affidavit, Mrs Regine Butt says the application is an abuse of the court process and wants it dismissed.

“The application is an afterthought, only intended by the other parties to derail and delay proceedings of this matter,” she said.

She added that she would apply to have some paragraphs of her co-wife’s affidavit struck out on grounds that Mr Kaluma was an advocate and not a party to the proceedings.

“It is the interested parties, aided by their advocates who have been seeking to conceal and alter the records of my late husband’s companies and properties,” Mrs Regine Butt said.

The judge directed the parties to file and serve their written submissions.

The ruling will be delivered on August 18.

Before the beginning of the proceedings, Mr George Miyare, who is also representing Mrs Regine Butt apologised to the court over a scuffle which took place on Wednesday after the case was adjourned.