NAIROBI, Kenya, April 16 — The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has said there is no basis to remove Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu from the recruitment panel interviewing candidates shortlisted for the position of Chief Justice as was petitioned by Philip Murgor, prominent city lawyer who once served as public prosecutor.
Murgor had said there is a client-advocate relationship between Mwilu and another CJ candidate, lawyer Fred Ngatia who represented her in 2012 when she was being vetted by the JSC.
He, therefore wanted her to disqualify herself in order to ensure the integrity of the process is preserved.
In a letter responding to the recusal of Mwilu from the panel, JSC noted that contrary to Murgor’s claims, the relationship between the acting CJ and other advocates was not personal but of professional nature.
“The commission in its meeting of April 9, deliberated on your request and having noted the provisions of Section 44 of the Judicial Service Act observed that the relationship between LADY Justice Mwilu and the two advocates was not personal but of a professional nature,” Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amado, who is also the commission’s Secretary, stated.
“In light of the foregoing, the commission unanimously resolved that there was no basis for Mwilu’s recusal from the interview proceedings,” Amado explained.
Murgor, while responding to Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi’s memorandum on him being unfit for the position said the latter and Mwilu also have a client relationship.
He faulted Havi for publicly campaigning for Ngatia while disparaging the reputation of the other candidates.
“Should Havi’s preferred candidate secure the position, the public perception will be that he and his client Mwilu had all along been working in collusion to achieve a pre-determined outcome of discrediting some candidates to illegally ensure the success of others,” Murgor said.
Murgor was set to face the JSC panel on Thursday as the fifth candidate seeking to replace David Maraga.
Others who have appeared before the panel are: Justices Said Chitembwe, (Lady) Martha KOOME and Njagi Marete.