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Tribunal on Justice Ojwang’s conduct to be sworn in

Justice Ojwang (L) stands suspended from office/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 7 – The members of the tribunal probing the conduct of Supreme Court judge Jackton Ojwang will be sworn in at the Supreme Court on Monday.

The tribunal, which was set up following Judge Ojwang’s suspension by President Uhuru Kenyatta, will be sworn in by Chief Justice David Maraga.

The tribunal will be seeking to probe Justice Ojwang’s conduct following a recommendation by the Judicial Service Commission.

The commission admitted a petition seeking his removal over misconduct, impropriety and conflict of interest.

The petition filed by Nelson Oduor Onyango and eight others detailed instances which the petitioners believed constituted grounds of misconduct, impropriety, conflict of interest and breach of judicial code of conduct on the part of the Hon Judge.

The complainants singled out Justice Ojwang’s involvement in a miscellaneous application 49 of 2014 between the Awendo Town Council and the petitioners “despite being conflicted and being closely associated with the County Government of Migori and the Governor Okoth Obado.”

While admitting the petition, the commission noted Justice Ojwang’s refusal to attend a hearing where he would have been accorded an opportunity to defend himself.

Under Article 168 of the Constitution, judges of superior courts (Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, and High Court) can be removed from office on grounds of mental or physical incapacity, breach of prescribed code of conduct, bankruptcy, incompetence, and gross misconduct.

Article 168 (5) empowers the President to, upon receiving a petition from JSC, appoint a six-member tribunal comprising among others an advocate and two persons with experience in public affairs.

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The tribunal will be chaired by Justice Alnashir Visram with Justice (Rtd) Festus Azangalala, Ambrose Weda, Andrew Bahati Mwamuye, Lucy Kambuni, Sylvia Wanjiku Muchiri and Amina Abdalla named as members.

The probe will include but is not limited to allegations contained in the petition by the Judicial Service Commission of Kenya filed by Nelson Oduor Onyango and eight others regarding the conduct of Justice Ojwang.

The tribunal will prepare and submit a report and its recommendations to President Kenyatta expeditiously.

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