, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 28 – Suspended judge Joseph Mutava got reprieve on Friday after High Court blocked the tribunal appointed to probe his conduct.
Justice Mumbi Ngugi barred the tribunal from sitting for at least 10 days after Justice Mutava moved to court, arguing the panel was not properly constituted.
His lawyer Philip Nyachoti says the president should have appointed a tribunal of seven members and not five, two of whom should be lay persons.
President Uhuru Kenyatta suspended the judge and appointed the tribunal to probe his conduct after complaints were raised over the manner in which he handled cases involving controversial businessman Kamlesh Pattni.
The tribunal to be chaired by appellate judge David Maraga was sworn into office last week in a ceremony presided over by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga.
The team was appointed by Kenyatta after the Judicial Service Commission petitioned the president to appoint a tribunal to inquire into the conduct of the judge, pursuant to the provisions of Article 168 of the Constitution.
Mutava’s case has now referred to CJ Mutunga who will appoint judges to hear it.
Speaking after the swearing-in, Justice Maraga assured Kenyans that the tribunal would discharge its mandate as required by the law.
Other members of the tribunal are High Court judges Maureen Odero and David Majanja and Senior Counsel Omesh Kapila and legal scholar Patricia Kamiri Mbote.
Kapila is a Senior Counsel while Prof Mbote is the Dean, Faculty of Law at the University of Nairobi.
In the discharge of its functions, the tribunal shall prepare and submit a report and recommendations and exercise all the powers conferred upon it by law for the proper execution of its mandate.
Nazima Malik and Emmanuel Bitta will serve as the tribunal’s lead and assisting counsel while Mugure Gituto and John Makori are the tribunal’s joint secretaries.
Justice Mutava was facing 11 counts of impropriety, eight of which were dismissed due to lack of evidence.
A statement signed by Judicial Service Commission acting deputy chairperson Christine Mango said the commission was satisfied that the complaints disclosed sufficient grounds to petition the President to appoint a tribunal to investigate the conduct of Justice Mutava.
The LSK filed the complaint against Justice Mutava following a ruling by the judge terminating the Sh5.8 billion Goldenberg scandal case against businessman Kamlesh Pattni.