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Lawyer steps up push to punish CJ David Maraga for misconduct

By Paul Ogemba | Published Tue, March 21st 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 20th 2017 at 21:56 GMT +3
Chief Justice David Maraga

A lawyer has stepped up the push to have disciplinary action taken against Chief Justice David Maraga.

Mr Apollo Mboya accuses the CJ of misconduct and interference with judges.

His complaint, filed at the Judicial Service Commission, comes amid claims that the CJ is under pressure from the Executive and the National Assembly to transfer judges seen to be anti-government.

"It would appear that the JSC is quick to deal with complaints against magistrates and other judicial staff but is shielding and protecting the Chief Justice and other top judges from scrutiny for misconduct," said Mboya in a letter to the JSC.

The former Law Society of Kenya chief executive officer gave the commission a 30-day ultimatum to act on the claims against Justice Maraga failing which he will move to court to have the CJ sanctioned.

He said that since he filed a disciplinary petition against the CJ in December last year for unilaterally limiting the jurisdiction of the High Court in dealing with corruption cases, he has not received any response.

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He argued that the inordinate delay in instituting disciplinary action against the CJ was setting a bad precedent given the speed at which other judicial employees are punished.

Sources in the JSC have complained that the CJ has been under pressure from the Executive to transfer judges from the Constitutional Division for issuing orders against the government and the National Assembly.

Mboya called on the commission to protect judges from third-party influence.

"The JSC should guarantee judges that they will not be victimised for upholding the rule of law and performing their constitutional duties," he said.

Activist Okiya Omtatah raised the red flag about Justice Maraga's interference when he alleged that the CJ wanted to transfer Justice Enock Chacha for restraining Parliament from impeaching Auditor-General Edward Ouko.

According to the activist, he had information that the CJ had succumbed to pressure from third parties and had instructed some individual judges to stop issuing orders against the government.

"The CJ wants to punish Justice Chacha by transferring him out of Nairobi just because he issued orders suspending parliamentary proceedings against the Auditor-General. This state of affairs in unacceptable and we urge him not to be an errand boy for anybody," said Omtatah.

Speaker Justin Muturi and the National Assembly have filed a notice of appeal against Justice Chacha's decision stopping them from debating a motion to impeach Mr Ouko.

According Mr Muturi, the House was dissatisfied with the ruling.