The Government has formally complained about a judge who convicted the Interior Cabinet secretary and two other top officials, MPs have been told.
And although Interior CS Fred Matiang’i did not specifically name Justice George Odunga, he appeared to be referring to the decision by the High Court judge to fine him, Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet, and Principal Secretary for Immigration Gordon Kihalangwa Sh200,000 each for contempt of court.
“We have moved to the Court of Appeal, but we have also, through the Attorney General, filed a complaint against the judicial officer at the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) over the manner he handled the matter and condemned us without hearing us based on lies that were fed to him. JSC will handle the petition. We got condemned unheard. Up to this moment, I have not been served with any of the court orders and none of these my brothers has,” Matiang’i said.
JSC receives petitions against judicial officers and investigates whether they have merit and if there is a basis, sets off a process that could lead to their removal from office.
The CS told the Security and National Administration Committee, which had summoned him and the two other officials over the saga involving lawyer Miguna Miguna, that the Government was frustrated by what he described as an ‘evil clique of judicial officers’, which he claimed was determined to humiliate the Executive and stall Government operations.
Matiang’i said ‘about five judicial officers’ had been held captive and were colluding with activists and sections of the civil society in an ‘unholy alliance’ to embarrass the Executive.
“There is an evil clique of judicial officers who are keen to drag us by the collar and take us through trial by the public court. They are determined to ensure that the Executive does not perform,” Matiang’i told the MPs.
“It has now come out that Miguna’s lawyers lied under oath. We have filed a petition at the LSK, also through the AG, against the lawyer who swore an affidavit claiming that the Government confiscated his Canadian passport. I want to see what the LSK will do now that their lawyer lied under oath,” Matiang’i said.
Miguna has admitted that he refused to hand over his Canadian passport to immigration officials at JKIA.
“We are waiting to see what the Judiciary will do after it has now emerged that the lawyers lied to the courts to obtain orders against us,” said Matiang’i.
Yesterday, Tom Ojienda, a JSC commissioner, told The Standard he was not aware about the complaint by the Government.
And LSK Chief Executive Officer Mercy Wambua said: “I don’t think there are complaints filed by Dr Matiang’i or the Government against the lawyers representing Miguna Miguna.”
Matiangi protested that the judge had declined to hear the Attorney General, who was acting for the Government officers, and questioned his decision to convict them without giving them a hearing.
“Why wouldn’t a judge want to hear the Government on such a weighty matter, even when the AG begs almost on his knees that the judge allows him to explain why the orders (to produce Miguna) could not be acted on? Why would a judicial officer decline to hear the Government?
“I want to invite you MPs to look at these cases (against the Government). They always involve same judicial officers, same lawyers, and same activists. And now it appears like a race of who can embarrass the Executive the most,” Matiang’i said.
He wondered why the courts have often granted ex-parte orders to one activist ‘who has often rushed to courts to challenge almost everything the Government does’.
The CS, who was accompanied by the principal secretary in his ministry, Karanja Kibicho, explained why they could not present Miguna to the court, as Justice Odunga had ordered, maintaining that he was an undocumented immigrant. He said after he declined to have his Canadian passport stamped by the immigration officials, he could not be allowed in the country and thus had to remain on the airside.
The Government officials said they did their best to facilitate Miguna’s entry, as ordered by High Court judge Chaacha Mwita, but the politician frustrated their efforts.
“It is a requirement all over that you produce your passport for stamping before you are allowed into the country. The Pope and even Obama (former US President) when they visited Kenya had their passports stamped. When our President goes out of the country, on his return he has to undergo this. Why not Miguna?” Matiang’i asked.
The CS said when Miguna failed to do this, the immigration officers ‘went out of traditions’ and organised for Miguna to be served with a document that would help him regularise his Kenyan citizenship but he tore the papers.
He said even after the Government urged the Canadian High Commission officials to help resolve the matter, since Miguna could not produce his Canadian document, the lawyer failed to cooperate.
Kihalangwa said contrary to his claims, Miguna was not detained in a toilet. “He was in a self-contained house, complete with a bed and a mattress, but he only chose to give photos of him in the toilet. And even if you look keenly that was a very clean toilet.”