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Wealth declarations key in judicial jobs

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – The process of picking the country\’s next Chief Justice is due to kick off this weekend, with wealth declarations expected to be among the list of qualifications applicants must fulfil.

The Judicial Service Commission expected to advertise the posts in newspapers and the Kenya Gazette asking interested lawyers and judges who are experienced to apply.

According to the advert seen by Capital News, the applicant must declare his income and liabilities at the time of making the application, in the interest of transparency and public accountability required of public officers.

For those who are in Government employment they must attach copies of returns of declaration of income and liabilities while those in private practice are required to attach income tax returns, for the last three years," the advert states.

The applicants for either of the two posts should also have a law degree from a recognised university or an equivalent in common law jurisdiction.

In addition, the candidates should have had at least 15 years experience as a judge of a superior court or 15 years experience as a distinguished academic, judicial officer or legal practitioner either in Kenya or in commonwealth common law jurisdiction.

"Experience gained in Kenya or in another Commonwealth country with a common law jurisdiction will be considered," says the advert.

Besides academic and professional qualifications applicants are expected to have "a high moral character, integrity and impartiality.”

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"The candidates must have demonstrated a high degree of professional competence, communication skills, fairness, good temperament, making good judgments in both legal and life experiences, and commitment to public and community service," requires the advert.

The applicant must also provide five samples of their writings, including but not limited to judgments, scholarly writings or any legal publications that the applicant has authored.

The Kenya Anti Corruption Commission Chairman Okong\’o Omogeni earlier on Thursday stated that it the commission would vet the Chief Justice, the Deputy and all judges.

"The Judicial Service Bill has put it in black and white that KACC will be one of the references in vetting of judges," Mr Omogeni said.

The CJ shall have a maximum period of service of 10 years subject to retirement age of 70 years. As head of the Judiciary the CJ will be the President of the Supreme Court and convene and chair the Judicial Service Commission meetings. The Head Judge shall oversee the management and administration of the Judiciary Fund and be the link between the Judiciary and other Arms of Government.

The applications will be sent to the Secretary of the JSC within the next three weeks after which the commission will carry our interviews and make recommendations to the President. The Head of State shall in turn send the names to Parliament for approval before making the appointment.

President Mwai Kibaki last month tasked the Commission with the process of identifying the next CJ to replace Evan Gicheru whose term expired last Sunday as stipulated in the new Constitution.

The President had earlier nominated Court of Appeal Judge Alnashir Visram as the Chief Justice but his nomination was revoked alongside that of lawyers Githu Muigai and Kioko Kilukumi as Attorney General and Director of Public Prosecutions respectively.

The President had also nominated William Kirwa for Controller of Budget but the candidates were opposed by Prime Minister Raila Odinga claiming he was not fully consulted.

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Women\’s organisations have also opposed them on the basis of gender disparity.

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