President Uhuru Kenyatta has suspended High Court Justice Juma Chitembwe and set up a tribunal to review his suitability to continue serving in the judiciary over allegations of gross misconduct and improper conduct.
The The tribunal, which will be chaired by Appeals Judge Mumbi Ngugi, will be tasked with reassessing the evidence that formed the basis of the Judicial Service Commission’s decision to recommend the impeachment of Judge Chitembwe.
Members The tribunal includes Senior Counsel Fred Ojiambo, High Court Judge Abida Ali Aroni, Industrial Relations Court Judge Nzioki wa Makau and Attorney James Ochieng’ Oduol.
Other members include former Kenyan Air Force Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Jackson Ndung ‘u, and former Chair of the Teachers Service Commission, Lydia Nzomo.
The tribunal’s lead counsel will be Senior Counsel Kiragu Kimani n, while the Joint Secretaries will be Mr. Jasper Mbiuki and Ms. Sarah Yamo.
Mr. Mbiuki works as Legal Secretary and Legislative Affairs in th The President’s Executive Office, while Ms. Yamo is the Administrative Secretary in the President’s Executive Office, Office for Cabinet Affairs, is.
The President also appointed Joseph Gitonga Riungu (a prosecutor working in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions) and Edward Omotii Nyang’au (an attorney) as assistants.
< p>He formed the tribunal following a recommendation by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) that Judge Chitembwe should be removed from office over leaked videos showing him in a plot to compromise an ongoing court case.
The appointment of the Tribunal sets the stage for a second round of the Judge’s fight for survival.
In 2009 Judge Chitembwe was arrested in connection with the sale of a Gru
In July last year, he was arrested by criminal police officers on charges of receiving bribes.
Police said , having confiscated $7,000 during the robbery. He later claimed the money was intended to pay his children’s school fees abroad.
“The Head of State and Government notes that the petition contains serious allegations regarding the judge’s conduct and notes also notes that the allegations are gross. Misconduct on the part of a judge undermines Kenyans’ confidence in the fair administration of justice,” Public Service Chief Joseph Kinyua said in the statement.
He said the mandate of the It is for the tribunals to make the request for the judge’s impeachment and to investigate the allegations involved in the matter.
Mr Kinyua said the court is expected to draft and deliver a report and its recommendations in a timely manner and exercises all powers conferred on him by law for the proper execution of his mandate.
The arbitral tribunal will have an opportunity to consider the evidence supporting the decision of to reevaluate JSC and recommend either his dismissal or reinstatement. Recommendations of the Arbitral Tribunal to the President are binding.
A suspended judge shall receive half his or her salary until he or she is removed from office or reinstated.
A judge may be challenged a Decision of the Arbitral Tribunal by appealing to the Supreme Court within 10 days of the Arbitration Tribunal’s recommendations.
The President shall act in accordance with the Arbitration Tribunal’s recommendations after the expiry of 10 days if no such appeal is made.
Judge Chitembwe is the eighth judge – under the 2010 Constitution – to face a tribunal on allegations of misconduct.
His predecessors in this trial include former Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Barasa, retired Supreme Court Justices Jackton Ojwang and Philip Tunoi, former Supreme Court Justices Joseph Mutava and Martin Muya, and Labor Justice Relationship Court, Njagi Marete.
Before the court, Judge Chitembwe was faced with various charges, including attending a television interview in which he admitted former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, one of the parties in an impeachment trial, was his relative .
He also admitted that he was related to a person named Amana Jirani, who was said to be his proxy in acquiring a piece of land in Kwale that was at the center of a succession dispute. The successor case was ahead of him, but he allegedly failed to disclose his personal economic interest in the property.
The JSC also noted that the judge held multiple meetings with Mr. Sonko, Mr. Jimmy Askar and Mr Said Mwajirani discussing the sale of the Kwale land, which adversely affected his impartiality as a judge.