Chief Magistrate Irene Akankwasa of the Kololo-based Anti-Corruption court has vehemently denied having any vested interest in a case in which telecom giant MTN is suing at least two of its former employees for embezzlement.
Naphtali Were, a former MTN logistics officer and former accountant John Paul Basabosa are in court to answer allegations that between 2009 and 2012 the two embezzled $3.8m (about Sh9.3 billion).
The accused recently petitioned the anti - corruption division of the High court for a judicial review, accusing Akankwasa of harassing them and making an illegal U-turn in the case. In October last year, Akankwasa had issued an order staying hearing of the matter, pending determination by the Constitutional petition, in which both Were and Basabose had challenged their "selective prosecution".
However, on January 17, 2013 Akankwasa inexplicably summoned the duo to answer fraud charges, reversing her earlier decision. With the matter expected before the High court, Akankwasa found herself in a bind, after Were's lawyer Robert Friday Kagoro explained that both the lawyers' and magistrate's hands were tied.
"We wouldn't want to imagine a situation where our clients are having to think that probably you have a special interest in this case because we expected this file to have been forwarded a week ago, but you're still holding onto it," Kagoro offered.
"I hadn't seen the letter because I was not around the whole of last week," a chastened Akankwasa said. "The file will be forwarded to High court for an appropriate action."