NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 22 – Suspended Judge Joseph Mutava will fight his removal, “to the end of the road,” his lawyer declared on Thursday; a day after the Chief Justice nominee David Maraga declared him unfit to serve.
Mutava’s lawyer Philip Nyachoti at a press briefing on Thursday said that while he and his client respected the finding of the Maraga Chaired tribunal, they disagreed with it.
Nyachoti said his client would therefore be taking advantage of the Constitutional provision of appeal within 10 days of the tribunal submitting its report to the President for Action.
The grounds of Mutava’s appeal, Nyachoti said, would be that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to begin with given the three complaints the judge faced were later withdrawn.
“There were three complainants. One was Ministry of Industrialisation, the other one was ICPC, the other one was Ngatia and Associates. Once they withdrew their petitions then what do you have to hear?”
While true that International Center for Policy and Conflict did instruct its counsel Nelson Havi to withdraw their complaint, they nonetheless welcomed the tribunal’s findings stating in a press release:
“International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) welcomes the decision of the Tribunal investigating Justice Joseph Mutava who cleared Kamlesh Pattni has recommended to President the judge removed from office. Justice Mutava cleared Kamlesh Pattni from Goldenberg scandal and barred Office of Director of Public Prosecutions from prosecuting Patnni. President should act immediately to the recommendation of the Tribunal.”
It should also be made clear that there was no love lost when Ngatia testified before the tribunal against Mutava.
“A friend of the judge did plead with the relevant people in government and said why are we still pursuing this matter, and with the passage of time, one says let bygones be bygones, so I withdrew the complaint. Much later, the untrue statements made by the judge before the JSC were brought to my attention and we had a change of heart,” he testified.
Regardless, Nyachoti also took issue with the tribunal’s, “mutilation,” of the complaints made against Mutava into six.
“It does not make to sense to say it wasn’t proved he solicited a bribe for another judge then go and find it proved that he sought to compromise a judge.”
The reason Nyachoti gave for their not challenging the tribunal’s jurisdiction earlier in the Supreme Court was that Chief Justice Willy Mutunga was biased against his client.
During the tribunal’s hearings he submitted as proof of the above assertion Mutunga’s failure to first seek his side of the story on the aforementioned complaint – that he attempted to compromise retired justice Leonard Njagi — before forwarding it to the Judicial Service Commission.