Suspended judge Jackton Ojwang faces four charges at tribunal

Justice Jackton Boma Ojwang. [File, Standard]
Supreme Court judge Jackton Ojwang has formally received four charges that he shall be facing before a tribunal investigating him for misconduct.

Justice Ojwang received the 11-page petition yesterday. It contains charges drafted by the Justice Alnasir Visram-led tribunal and is required to answer to each of the allegations within 14 days.

On the claim on breach of judicial Code of Conduct, Ojwang is accused of failing to withdraw from the Awendo sugar belt case and the Migori governor election petition despite knowing that he had a close relationship with Migori County Governor Okoth Obado.

The judge is also expected to reply to charges of conflict of interest where his accuser, Nelson Oduor Onyango, claims that he was seen visiting governor Obado’s family and that the governor reciprocated the visit.

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Ojwang faces a third charge of bias and incompetence where he is accused of having influenced a judgement and application by the apex court.

The three charges emanate from the complaint filed by Mr Oduor.

Both former and current Supreme Court judges are expected to testify.

The Awendo case was heard and a ruling made by a bench composed by former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, Justices Phillip Tunoi, Njoki Ndung’u, Ojwang and Mohamed Ibrahim.

The governor election petition case was heard by Dr Mutunga, the then Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal, Justices Tunoi, Njoki, Ibrahim, Ojwang and Smokin Wanjala.

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The judge also faces a fourth charge of failure to appear before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and undermining the Constitutional mandate of the commission.

 “You undermined the Constitutional mandate of the Judicial Service Commission,” the charges exclusively seen by The Standard read in part.

The charges state that he used a harsh tone against commissioners, something which is said to be against the conduct of State Officers.

The complainant in this charge is the JSC, chaired by Chief Justice David Maraga.

The charge states that Ojwang’s lawyer, Nani Mungai, wrote to the commission, requesting that the complaint be re-opened and the judge given an opportunity to be heard.

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The commission declined saying that it had already closed it.

Four members’ committee of JSC, which sat to hear the complaint against Ojwang are also expected to testify before the tribunal.

These are Justices Mohamed Ibrahim (Appeal Court) Aggrey Muchelule (High Court) lawyer Mercy Ndeche and former minister, Felix Koskei.

At the same time, the tribunal is in the process of recording witness statements.

The statements will be served on the suspended judge who will in turn make his defense within 14 days.

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After this, the tribunal is expected to give directions on hearings.

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Supreme CourtJackton OjwangOkoth ObadoJudicial Service Commission