Baraza case: Police pledge impartial probe

January 7, 2012 12:49 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya January 7 – Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe has assured the public that the incident involving Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza and a guard at the Village Market will be thoroughly investigated to get to the truth of the matter.

Kiraithe said on Saturday that the probe will not be one sided and justice will prevail once the truth comes out.

He urged those who witnessed the incident to come forward and help with the investigations.

“In the case of the honourable Deputy Chief Justice, the Commissioner of Police would want to send his assurance that the police are only interested in a very impartial objective and fair investigation. We have information that some members of the public took pictures with their mobile phones or witnessed the incident in question,” he stated.

“We are asking them to come forward and give us information or give it to the Judiciary if you do not trust the police and they will share it with us.”

He was speaking during a press conference on the Operation Linda Inchi.

“The police is not interested in either a cover-up or persecution of any individual and so remember that if you are an impostor that place is covered by a very elaborate CCTV system and if you say that you were there, we will be able to independently confirm that you were actually present during that incident,” he added.

CID boss Ndegwa Muhoro echoed his sentiments.

“What I can assure people is that we are going to be very objective in our investigations just as we have always been. There will be no victimisation or cover-up of any kind. We will be driven by the evidence as it comes,” he said.

The Judicial Service Commission is due to hold an emergency session on Monday next week, to discuss the saga that has generated public outrage.

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has said that the law will be duly followed.
The issue has brought to fore the legal deficiencies on how judges can be disciplined should an alleged minor misconduct be proven, without requiring their removal from office, since judges enjoy full security of tenure.
Some judges have proposed that the JSC becomes the disciplinary body, but opinion is split on whether it should have peer reprimand.
The CJ is appointed in same way as all other judges and is only a leader among equals.
Under Article 172(c) of the Constitution, the JSC can only investigate and discipline registrars, magistrates, other judicial officers and staff of the Judiciary.
The only provision in the Constitution is for the removal of a judge from office. Article 168(1) of the Constitution provides that a judge may only be removed from office on, among other grounds, a breach of a code of conduct prescribed for judges of the superior courts by an Act of Parliament, or gross misconduct or misbehavior.
The removal of a judge from office can only be initiated by the JSC either acting on its own motion or on a petition made to it by any person.
The JSC must consider the petition and if satisfied that it merits the removal of the judge, make the recommendation to the President who would then appoint a tribunal to investigate the judge.
For all judges other than the CJ, such a tribunal should comprise of four serving or retired judges or persons qualified to be appointed judges, one advocate of 15 year-standing and two persons with experience in public affairs.
Should it get to that, Baraza would be suspended from office on half-pay pending completion and determination of the matter.
Parliament is yet to enact a law providing for such a tribunal. This means attempts to investigate a judge at the moment could cause a Constitutional gridlock.


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