, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 14 – The Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board (JMBV) was on Tuesday expected to announce determinations of the remaining six High Court Judges paving way for the vetting of magistrates.
The board said it was expected to complete vetting the 109 Principal magistrates by March 28 this year a deadline but that may not be manageable since two foreign members of the Board would be away.
“We have to rely on only two of the foreign judges –Albie Sachs and Fred Chomba, Chief Justice Georgina Wood although still on the Board is back in Ghana awaiting replacement. Albie Sachs will be with us until February 28 and Chomba till May 31. Parliament was not able to approve the names put forward for their replacement which will now have to await the new Parliament. This will be strenuous and challenging,” Board Chairman Sharad Rao asserted.
However he was optimistic that the Board will still go on with its work to ensure the magistrates are vetted, “taking stock of lessons learnt from the process so far, the Board is confident of doing so, unless hampered by extraneous factors outside its control.”
Rao informed any people willing to raise concerns about magistrates to do so by January, 2013 and at the same time called for cooperation from relevant bodies such as the Law Society of Kenya and the anti-corruption body.
The Board will also on Tuesday announce its determination of two judges who appealed against the decision that found them to be unfit to serve as judges.
So far the vetting board has vetted 53 judges and 37 of them were declared suitable to continue serving in the Judiciary while 11 were said to be unsuitable.
“The Board has heard seven applications for review so far, out of which five were unsuccessful. Two were set for further consideration by the Board,” Rao said.
JMBV was established to vet judges and magistrates in the ongoing judicial reforms intended to restore confidence among Kenyans.
The Board has in the recent past faced tough tides with judges challenging its decision and even some moving to court to defy its decision.
However, Rao has maintained that the Board will not relent on its mandate.