NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 16 – Suspended judge Joseph Mutava will on Thursday receive directions on when he will get his day before the Supreme Court to challenge a finding of unsuitability to continue on the bench.
Ironically, the man who chaired the tribunal that looked into his conduct now sits as President of the Supreme Court – Chief Justice David Maraga.
On September 21, Mutava through lawyer Philip Nyachoti said he would be challenging the findings of the Maraga chaired Tribunal on the grounds that they based their report on complaints that had been withdrawn.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 Centre for Policy and Conflict did instruct its counsel Nelson Havi to withdraw their complaint, they nonetheless welcomed the tribunal’s findings.
“International Centre 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 Pattni. President should act immediately to the recommendation of the Tribunal,” ICPC said.
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.