, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15 – The tribunal investigating the conduct of Supreme Court judge Jackton Ojwang’ has commenced sittings that will end on Friday, with 22 witnesses lined up to testify.
Tribunal chairman Justice Alnashir Visram on Monday said they will conduct the hearings in camera before they retreat to prepare a report to be handed over to President Uhuru Kenyatta who established the tribunal in April.
“The process began in April and we have taken evidences from witnesses even in Migori and this will be our concluding week hopefully by Friday we will be done with the hearings then we retreat to write our report,” said Justice Visram.
Justice Ojwang was suspended from office following a recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission after a petition challenging his conduct was filed by Nelson Oduor Onyango and eight others.
The judge is accused of gross misconduct, impropriety, conflict of interest and breach of the judicial code, by failing to declare his close association with Migori Governor Okoth Obado when hearing a case in which the county chief was a party.
While allowing the petition, the JSC noted Justice Ojwang’s refusal to attend a hearing where he would have been accorded an opportunity to defend himself.
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.”
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.
Judges suspended under Article 168 (5) are entitled to half the remuneration benefits payable to them pending determination of their fate by a tribunal.