, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 6 – The High Court in Nairobi has issued a stern warning to Members of Parliament cautioning them against disobeying court orders while at the same time stopping them from removing six Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Commissioners from office.
While issuing the restraining order on Wednesday morning, Justice George Odunga ruled that the MPs would be overstepping their mandate by doing so because they have no authority to remove constitutional office holders.
He added that legislators who ignored the court’s directive would be held in contempt of court.
He said that the JSC Commissioners would remain in office until an application filed by the commission against the National Assembly and its Speaker is heard and determined.
The parliamentary committee on Justice and Legal Affairs had last week heard a petition filed by Nicholas Riungu Mugambi, seeking to have the JSC Commissioners sent home.
Mugambi wanted lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi, Samuel Kobia, Emily Ominde, Christine Mango, Florence Mwangangi and Justice Mohammed Warsame sent home for allegedly violating the Constitution.
He said that the six had obstructed investigations into the misappropriation of Sh80 million by judicial staff.
Two other individuals had earlier appeared before the committee, which is led by Eldoret East MP Samuel Chepkonga, demanding for the removal of Commissioner Abdullahi from office.
Neptune Credit Limited Director Bryan Yongo and Leonard Kamweti, who was a legal officer with the National Bank of Kenya, told the Committee that Abdullahi did not deserve to be in the JSC.
While Yongo claimed that Abdullahi had coached Willy Mutunga for the Chief Justice’s position in addition to sexually harassing two women, Kamweti said that Abdullahi had used his position to have him sacked from the bank.
“Ahmednasir Abdullahi confided in me that while the interviews for the Chief Justice were underway, he and senior counsel Paul Muite took the current Chief justice Willy Mutunga to Abdullahi’s residence in Karen for coaching,” alleged Yongo.
The Legal Affairs committee also turned away JSC lawyer Paul Muite from appearing on behalf of the six JSC members because they had summoned the individual Commissioners and not their lawyer.
At the time Chepkonga led MPs in declaring that the JSC had repeatedly showed the House team disrespect by refusing to honour its summons.
“We had invited the commissioners that were in the petition and so we do not intend to give him (Muite) a hearing because this was not a matter that was supposed to be delegated to any other person,” he said.
“This was a substantive issue; not a procedural issue. Muite will be informed that this committee does not intend to give him any audience.”
But the JSC has time and again maintained that it is not answerable to the Legislature.
The committee turned down the JSC request for more time to respond to the issue with Chepkonga explaining that they were time barred as they had to present a report to the House for deliberation.