Judges Ibrahim, Nambuye get second chance

September 21, 2012 2:20 pm
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Justice Mohammed Ibrahim got a second chance when Vetting Board annulled its own decision/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 21 – Supreme Court Judge Mohammed Ibrahim has successfully appealed against a determination of the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board which has now reversed his removal from office.

Justice Ibrahim had sought a review of the board’s earlier decision that declared him unsuitable to serve in the country’s highest court saying that a member of the interviewing panel was biased against him.

He relied on an SMS allegedly sent by a member of the interviewing panel on 22 July to some lawyers. It read: “I am shocked Eldoret lawyers do not think we should have sent IB packing, despite the delay,…if one cooks, cooks and cooks food and never serves for eating, how could you say he is a good cook?”

Board chairman Sharad Rao said: “The panel and the board have accordingly decided that in the interest of justice being seen to be done the vetting interview on Judge Ibrahim and the subsequent determination is declared null and void. The board chairman will constitute a panel to interview the judge afresh.”

He relied on an SMS allegedly sent by a member of the interviewing panel on 22 July to some lawyers. It read: “I am shocked Eldoret lawyers do not think we should have sent IB packing, despite the delay,…if one cooks, cooks and cooks food and never serves for eating, how could you say he is a good cook?”

The board member who is alleged to have sent the text message disqualified herself from Ibrahim’s review.

In reaching the deliberations, Rao insisted that it was imperative that his team which aims to assist in restoring judicial integrity upholds the integrity of its own processes.

Justice Roselyn Nambuye who had also been shown the door was successful in her review and will face fresh vetting.

Counsel representing her argued that the board had erred by stating in its determination that Justice Nambuye had failed to submit an audit of all her outstanding judgments.

Her lawyer pointed out that the board had relied on this incorrect fact to make damaging findings, including that the judge’s ability to manage cases was inadequate and that the number of delayed judgments was unknown.

He insisted that Justice Nambuye had indeed been capable of managing her case roll and that the total number of pending judgments had not exceeded 24.

The board admitted to an error in record and said that: “The determination of unsuitability is set aside, and a panel will be constituted to interview the judge.

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