NAIROBI, Kenya, May 3 – Justice Joseph Nyamu on Thursday became the third appellate judge to fight back after being rendered unfit to serve in the Judiciary by the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board (JMVB).
In an application by his advocates, Nyamu asked the board to reconsider its verdict to sack him last week.
“Justice Nyamu being aggrieved by the determination of the Board dated 25th April, 2012 finding him as “not suitable to continue to serve as a judge” hereby requests for a review of the said decision of the Board,” the advocates wrote.
They complained that the board failed to adhere to the guidelines set out by the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Act that it should be confined to ‘principles and standards of judicial independence, natural justice and international best practices.’
Nyamu wants the Sharad Rao-led board to review a complaint lodged on allegations of deception and fraud.
“The Board had no legal basis to pass judgment against the judge on account of that complaint. This contention is underscored by two facts. First, the Board itself ruled that the merits of the dispute are “best left to the High Court, which was the body best equipped to deal with it”.
They also argued that Nyamu was not given a chance to give evidence to counter allegations by the complainant who led the board to the conclusion that he was unprofessional, lacked impartiality and was incapable to react to criticisms.
Justice Nyamu further asked for the review of the conclusion of the board in regards to the Goldenberg scandal saying he was not a ‘gatekeeper’ as termed by the board.
“It bears noting that the critic who labelled the Judge as a gatekeeper was the Secretary to the Goldenberg Commission and so his criticism on the Saitoti Judgement should probably not be taken without a pinch of salt,” the application indicated.
Justice Nyamu was hounded out of office for his conduct when he headed the Constitutional Review division of the court, during which time the Board said he frustrated efforts to prosecute high ranking officials over the Anglo Leasing and Goldenberg corruption scandals.
The two mega scandals cost Kenyan tax payers in excess of $1 billion. The Goldenberg scandal which was carried out through fictitious gold and diamond exports crippled the economy during the 1990s.
Meanwhile, two other appellate judges, Justice Riaga Omollo and Justice Samuel Bosire who were sent packing alongside Emmanuel O’Kubasu have also asked for a review of the conclusions of the board.
Upon the announcement by the board last Thursday, the judges are allowed seven days in which they can ask for a review.
So far only Justice O’Kubasu has not challenged the board’s decision.