Supreme Court Judge Jackton Ojwang to face tribunal over misconduct

Supreme Court Judge Jackton Ojwang. (File, Standard)
Justice Jackton Ojwang will become the fourth judge to face a tribunal after the Judicial Service Commission found sufficient grounds of misconduct to remove him from the bench.

After taking over from the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board, the JSC has pushed to clean the Judiciary leading to the removal of Former Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza, former Supreme Court Judge Philip Tunoi and former High Court Judge Joseph Mutava for bringing the Judiciary to disrepute.

Ms Baraza, the first DCJ after the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution, served only seven months before being suspended for misconduct after being accused of assaulting a security guard at the Village Market.

She was said to have assaulted Rebecca Kerubo after a confrontation during which the former DCJ allegedly waved a gun, pulled the guard’s nose and told her “she should know people”.

A JSC sub-committee comprising of Rev Samuel Kobia, Prof Christine Mango, Justice Isaac Lenaola and lawyer Florence Mwangangi then petitioned the president to suspend and appoint a tribunal to investigate her conduct.

Former President Mwai Kibaki appointed retired Tanzania Chief Justice Augustino Ramadhani, Prof Judith Mbula, Retired Judge Philip Ransley, Surinder Kapila, Beauttah Siganga, Grace Madoka and Prof Mugambi Jesse to the tribunal to investigate Baraza’s conduct.

The tribunal found her guilty of misconduct and recommended her sacking for bringing disrepute to the Judiciary. Ms Baraza however opted to resign instead of waiting to be sacked by the President.

Justice Tunoi was accused of receiving Sh200 million bribe from former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero to influence the outcome of an election petition by Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu.

Complaints against him were filed by Geoffrey Kiplagat who stated how he was approached by Dr Kidero’s aides to connect them with the judge, leading to a network of secret communication and the money being paid to the judge at a petrol station.

JSC sub-committee comprising of Prof Margaret Kobia, former Attorney General Githu Muigai, Justice Aggrey Muchelule, Chief Magistrate Emily Ominde, Winnie Guchu and Kipkorir Bett found merit in the claims and asked the President to form a tribunal to investigate his conduct.

President Uhuru Kenyatta then appointed Sharad Rao, Justice Roseline Korir, lawyer Judith Guserwa, James Gacoka, Abdirashid Hussein, George Wakukha and Justice Jonathan Havelock to the tribunal to investigate his conduct.

The tribunal did not however complete its investigations after Justice Tunoi was retired upon attaining the age of 70.

For Justice Mutava, his undoing came in March 2013 when he terminated all criminal cases against Goldenberg Scandal architect Kamlesh Pattni and stopped police from re-arresting or charging the businessman with any offence relating to the scandal.

A petition was filed before the JSC to investigate his conduct in handling the matter and in May 2013, the JSC found sufficient grounds to petition the president to suspend him and form a tribunal to investigate his conduct.

The sub-committee headed by Supreme Court Judge Smokin Wanjala found that by causing the Goldenberg file to be retrieved from Nairobi and taken to him at Kericho at a time when they were inquiring allegations of misconduct against him was a serious failure.

President Uhuru Kenyatta then appointed a tribunal headed by then Court of Appeal Judge (current Chief Justice) David Maraga who in August 2016 confirmed that Mutava inappropriately handled Pattni’s file and recommended that he be sacked.

Mutava challenged the decision at the Supreme Court but his application was dismissed, giving the president the green light to sack him.

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Justice Jackton Ojwang'Judicial Service CommissionJudiciaryMisconduct