NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 26 – Suspended Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza has now moved to the High Court to block a tribunal appointed by President Mwai Kibaki barely hours after it was formed.
Baraza wants the High Court to issue a conservatory order restraining any State officer or institution from publishing in the Kenya Gazette the appointment of a tribunal pursuant to a letter to President on January 19.
She also wants the court to block the tribunal from being sworn in or commencing and executing its mandate.
The matter is due to be heard before Justice Mohammed Warsame at 2.30pm on Thursday.
President Kibaki had on Wednesday night suspended Baraza and formed a tribunal to investigate her conduct, following allegations that she pinched a security guard’s nose and threatened to shoot at her.
The action by the Head of State followed recommendations by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) which demanded that she faces suspension and a probe, after last month’s confrontation with Rebecca Kerubo at the Village Market shopping mall in Nairobi
In a gazette notice issued late on Wednesday, the President said he had formed a seven-member panel to investigate the matter.
The panel includes Augustino Stephen Lawrence Ramadhan, a former Chief Justice of Tanzania, as chairman. The members are Prof Judith Mbula Behemuka, Justice (Rtd) Philip J. Ransley, Surinder Kapila, Beauttah Alukhava Siganga, Grace Barbara Ngele Madoka and Prof Mugambi Jesse Ndwiga Kanyua.
Lawyers Valeria Onyango (Lead Counsel) and Gideon Solonka Kilakoi (Assisting Counsel) were appointed to aid the tribunal.
“The mandate of the tribunal shall be to investigate the conduct of the Deputy Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Kenya, Honourable Lady Justice Nancy Makokha Baraza on the basis of Articles 168 (I)(e); 73(I)(a) and (b); and 75(I) and (2) of the Constitution and the Judicial Service Code of Conduct and Ethics, Legal Notice No. 50 and other relevant laws and matters including but not limited to the allegations contained in the petition by the Judicial Service Commission of Kenya dated 19th January, 2012 and presented to myself regarding the conduct of the Honourable Deputy Chief Justice, Lady Justice Nancy Makokha Baraza,” a dispatch from State House had said.
In the discharge of its functions, the statement said, “The Tribunal shall prepare and submit a report and its recommendations thereon to me expeditiously.”
In the meantime, President Kibaki said: “Honourable Lady Justice Nancy Makokha Baraza, the Deputy Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Kenya stands suspended from exercising the functions of her office with immediate effect according to Article 168(5) of the Constitution.”
The resolution to send a petition to the president was reached at a meeting held by the JSC on January 13, 2012.
Last week, the police re-submitted their investigation report to the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko recommending that Baraza be prosecuted but he is yet to take action.