Wed. Jul 17th, 2019

Supreme Court judges, magistrates face charges from different petitioners, JSC says

Chief Justice David Maraga reading the Judicial Service Commission's statement outside the Supreme Court stairs where judhes in the highest court and magistrates face different charges from petitioners on May 9, 2019

BY MWAKERA MWAJEFA

Four Supreme Court judges and five magistrates have been served with charges on various acts of misconduct ranging from Wajir gubernatorial petition to other forms of corruption respectively.

With regard to the petition by Mr. Yussuf Ibrahim Dimbil against the Chief Justice, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) confirms that the Chief Justice David Maraga has filed a response to the same.

For the two pending petitions against four Supreme Court judges arising from the Wajir Gubernatorial petition, the JSC confirms that the four judges have also filed their responses.

However, two of the judges have sought further particulars from the petitioners and their requests have been forwarded to them (petitioners) for their appropriate action.

On complaints against five magistrates, they have been served with charges on various acts of misconduct ranging from disappearance of files, irregular release of exhibits, forging of documents, temperament, bribery, signing release order without surety and other forms of corruption.

MAGISTRATES

The magistrates concerned have been served and given 14 days within which to respond to the charges.

In a statement issued by the JSC and read by the Chief Justice Maraga at the Supreme Court today (May 9), the commission deliberated on the petitions lodged against the judges and magistrates on May 2 and 8, 2019 reached different decisions.

The commission withdrew the petition by Mr. Apollo Mboya against Justice J.B. Ojwang and Lady Justice Njoki Ndungu on allegations of misconduct arising from their pronouncements in the Nick Salat case.

The petition against Justice David Majanja on allegations arising from the manner in which he handled Nairobi ELC Case No 1018/2012, Lennah Wanjiku Mbiyu and another vs Eddah Wanjiru Mbiyu and three others.

“Petitions against five judges were heard and dismissed for lack of merit. One petition against Justice Farah Amin is part-heard before a JSC Committee while one petition against Justice Richard Mwongo was recently concluded and is pending determination,” the JSC said.

TRIBUNALS

After hearing the three petitions, the commission was satisfied that they disclosed grounds for removal under Article 168 (1) of the Constitution and made a decision to petition President Uhuru Kenyatta for the appointment of Tribunals under Article 168 (5) of the Constitution.

The petition against the Justice D.K. Njagi Marete was filed by Kenya Tea Growers Association (KTGA), Unilever, Siret and others who were the respondents in Kericho Employment and Labour Relations Court Misc. Application No. 6 of 2017 and Misc. Application No. 7 of 2017.

In those cases, the judge, while well aware of the existence of an order in another file on the same subject matter, went ahead and issued orders which had the effect of setting aside the orders of a fellow judge of coordinate jurisdiction.

After hearing the matter, the JSC found that the petition had disclosed gross misconduct, bias, impartiality and breach of the Constitution and Judicial Code of Conduct against the Judge Marete.

The petition against the Justice Martin Mati Muya was filed by NIC Bank which was the defendant in Bomet HCCC No. 4 of 2016 Alfred Kipkorir Mutai & Kipsigis Stores Ltd vs NIC Bank Limited.

In that case, the judge, after numerous adjournments, granted an injunction and reserved the reasons thereof for a period of five months.

This was in total disregard of the pleas by the NIC Bank that the motor vehicles that had been given to it as security were being sold and were eventually sold thus occasioning loss to the bank.

HEARINGS

In its verdict, the Commission found that the petition had disclosed bias, abuse of office, incompetency and gross misconduct in the manner in which the judge handled the matter.

The petition against Lady Justice Lucy Waithaka was by Philip Kipyegon Lelei in Kericho H.C.C.C No. 64/2008, Jonathan Kimutai Mibei vs Philip Kipyegon Lelei.

The JSC found that the petition had disclosed impropriety by the judge for issuing two conflicting judgements over the same matter.

On the other 10 petitions against Superior Court judges, the JSC fixed for their hearing between 10th and 15th June 2019 before two committees of the commission.

The JSC promised to continue to keep the country updated on all matters to do with discipline of judges, judicial officers and staff on a regular basis.

“It shall fix dates for the oral hearing of these petitions after the finalization of the forthcoming exercise of recruitment of Judges,” the statement in part.   

According to the CJ the commission is to promote and facilitate the independence and accountability of the Judiciary and the efficient, effective and transparent administration of justice.

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