, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 25 – Kenya’s most senior Court of Appeal judge Riaga Omolo has become the first judge to be fired by the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board.
The board sent the judge packing after they found inconsistencies in judgements he made on political cases that he presided over.
“The negative impact of the way in which the judge had adjudicated at a time when his objectivity and impartiality were being tested was profound and had contributed significantly and in a lasting way to the loss of public confidence in the Judiciary in matters where powerful political figures were involved.”
“These members also felt that the judge had not shown sufficient capacity for introspection and ability to analyse in an objective manner the severe judicial failures for which he had been responsible at a difficult time in the life of the nation.”
“The judge on his own admission stated that they had failed Kenyans and the victims of the Nyayo House torture chambers, but he showed inadequate appreciation of how deeply and negatively the actual judgements he had delivered had impacted on public confidence in the fairness of the Judiciary.”
“A minority of members on the other hand were of the view that the manner in which he had adjudicated had to be seen in the context of the repression of the times; that he was not a corrupt judge… that he had made many positive contributions to the judiciary over the years and that he still had a major contribution to make in the new constitutional dispensation.”
“The decision of the board my very substantial majority – with two members dissenting – is that the judge is not suitable to continue to serve.”
“At the same time, the board wishes to highlight a total absence of any instance relating to corruption in regard to the judge.”
The board says its decision is final and is not appealable.
“The board’s objective is not to punish but meant to restore public confidence in the Judiciary,” the board’s chairman Sharad Rao said.
Justice Samuel Elkana Ondari Bosire has also been rejected by the Board. The Board faulted Justice Bosire for ending the Goldenberg Inquiry and also failed to summon former President Daniel arap Moi to question him over his role in the multi billion shillings scandal that crippled Kenya’s economy in the 1990s.
Another judge who failed test of the Vetting Board is Justice Emmanuel Okubasu who was also kicked out over the manner he handled cases.
More to follow…