NAIROBI, Kenya, May 10 – The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has served five magistrates with graft-related charges following petitions seeking their removal from office.
Chief Justice David Maraga on Thursday said the magistrates have been given two weeks to respond to allegations facing them.
“In respect of complaints against magistrates, five Magistrates have been served with charges on various acts of misconduct ranging from disappearance of files, irregular release of exhibits, forging of documents, temperament, bribery, signing release order without surety and other forms of corruption,” Maraga who chairs the JSC stated.
The CJ also confirmed that he alongside three other Supreme Court judges facing ouster petitions had filed responses to the commission.
“With regard to the petition by Yussuf Ibrahim Dimbil against the Chief Justice, the Commission confirms that the Hon Chief Justice has filed a response to the same,” he said.
Maraga, Justices Mohammed Ibrahim, Jackton Ojwang, Smokin Wanjala, and Njoki Ndung’u were served with the petitions filed by Yussuf Dimbil, and Mohammed Mahamud Sheikh on March 20, JSC giving the four fourteen days at the time to respond.
The JSC said two of the judges had “sought further particulars” from the petitioners, requests which were forwarded for processing.
President Uhuru Kenyatta named a seven-member tribunal on March 29 to look into the conduct of Justice Ojwang following a recommendation by the JSC on March 20.
The panel chaired by Court of Appeal Judge Alnashir Visram was inaugurated by Maraga on April 8 but is yet to commence its sittings.
Petitioner Nelson Oduor Onyango accused Justice Ojwang of misconduct and conflict of interest singling out his 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.”
“The petition – filed by 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,” Maraga noted in a JSC communiqué released on March 20.
Three High Court judges are also facing a tribunal process after the JSC on Thursday announced it had allowed petitions filed against them.
The JSC invoked Article 168 (1) of the Constitution requiring the President to form tribunals to investigate the conduct of Justices Njagi Marete, Mati Muya, Lucy Waithera, within fourteen days.
Petitions against five other judges were dismissed with a petition against Justice Farah Amin being heard by a JSC committee in part.
The petition against Justice Richard Mwongo has since been concluded awaiting determination by the JSC.
Ten other petitions against Supreme Court judges have been earmarked for hearing between June 10 and 15 before two JSC committees.
In its communiqué on Thursday JSC dismissed media reports that it had failed to reach a consensus on whether it should recommend the formation of a tribunal to probe the conduct of Supreme Court judge Njoki Ndung’u.
Chief Justice David Maraga, who chairs the commission, told a news conference a petition filed by lawyer Apollo Mboya had been withdrawn and hence the commission could not proceed with the matter.