By Nyambega Gisesa
More judges could face the axe in coming days following the recommendation for the formation of a tribunal to investigate the conduct of Supreme Court judge Prof Jackton Ojwang.
March 20, the Judicial Service Commission found Prof Ojwang had a case to answer for abuse of office, rolling the ball for other judicial officers to answer for their sins.
The Nairobi Law Monthly has learnt that the same fate awaits one more Supreme Court judge and a judge of the High Court.
“We have listened to them and we will finalise a report on the recommendations in a few days,” a commissioner who requested not to be named said.
If the fate of the three judges is left to the tribunal, it will be the single largest effort to fight corruption and impunity in the Judiciary since the promulgation of the constitution.
Between March 25 and 31, the commissioners burnt the midnight oil as they listened to the defence put up by Justices Njoki Ndung’u and Oscar Angote, who appeared on different dates.
Supreme Court Lady Justice Njoki is facing the highest number of complaints for any judge filed at the commission.
Claims against her include that she issued a judgment when she was aware that there was a pending disciplinary matter on the issue and that together with others, she carried out a mutiny in the judiciary when they withdrew their services as from September 24, 2015 by imposing a moratorium on all the judicial operations.
Other judges set to face or who have already appeared before the commission to defend themselves are D.K Marete Njagi, James Wakiaga, Richard Mwongo, Mary Gitumbi, Edward Muriithi, Martin Muya, Thripsisa Wanjiku, Lucy Waithaka , Amin Farah and Juma Chitembwe.
Three years ago, a ruling by Justice Chitembwe was described at the world’s “worst ever” rape verdict after he set free a 24-year-old man who had sex with a 13-year-old girl, when he ruled that she had behaved “like a full grown up woman who was already engaging and enjoying sex with men.”
The ruling was awarded the Golden Bludgeon by Women’s Link Worldwide, beating 18 other cases to emerge the world’s worst ruling for women’s rights.
In February, about 6,000 employees sacked by Bomet County government through their lawyer Sigei arap Bett wrote to the JSC seeking the punishment of Justice Marete for “dismissing their suit against the county government of Bomet on flimsy and simplistic grounds.”
Bett complained that the judge had carried out a “serious miscarriage of justice” in arriving at his decision.
The commission seems to have been rattled from its long slumber after a petition for the removal of Supreme Court judges Mohamed Ibrahim, JB Ojwang, Smokin Wanjala and Njoki Ndung’u was filed by lawyer Omwanza Ombati.
In their submissions to the JSC, the lawyers accuse the Wajir Governor of selling a piece of land at Sh300m, whose proceeds were used to bribe the Supreme Court judges to deliver a favourable ruling for Governor Mohamed Abdi.
Last month, the commission indicated that it had received 69 complaints against judges from January 2019, out of which 13 were scheduled for hearings. JSC said that 18 of the petitions were at an advanced stage of consideration while the rest were dismissed due to lack of merit. So far, JSC has determined the cases of nine magistrates, out of which five were found guilty of gross misconduct and subsequently dismissed. (