Said Chitembwe files notice of appeal against decision to sack him

Article 168(8) of the Constitution provides that a judge who is aggrieved by a decision of the tribunal may appeal to the Supreme Court within 10 days after the tribunal makes its recommendations.

The tribunal chaired by Court of Appeal Judge Mumbi Ngugi on February 7 concluded that Justice Chitembwe was not fit to hold the office and recommended to President William Ruto to sack him.

Other members of the tribunal were Senior Counsel Fred Ojiambo, Justice Abida Ali Aroni, Justice Nzioki wa Makau, lawyer James Ochieng Oduol, Lt Gen (Rtd) Jackson Ndung'u and Dr Lydia Nzomo.

Senior Counsel Kiragu Kimani was the tribunal's lead counsel assisted by Joseph Riungu.

The tribunal unanimously agreed that all six charges of misconduct levelled against the judge had been proved.

The tribunal was investigating three cases where Justice Chitembwe was accused of impropriety in handling a succession dispute while serving at the Malindi High Court, and an impeachment case against former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.

On claims that the judge lacked impartiality and failed to disclose conflict of interest while dealing with the Sonko's case, the tribunal found that there was overwhelming evidence to warrant his removal from the Judiciary.

"The tribunal find that contrary to the position taken by the judge that his relationship with Sonko was too remote, the relationship was actually close and warranted his recusal from hearing the petitions, or at the very least, disclosing to his colleague judges," ruled the tribunal.

The second allegation was that the judge lacked integrity on account that he failed to exercise his judicial functions independently by engaging with persons who were litigants in matters that were before him.

This after the judge offered legal advice to Sonko on the viability of an appeal and the proposed grounds of appeal against the judgment in the petition against his impeachment.

According to the tribunal, there was evidence backed by secret video and audio recording of a meeting between Chitembwe and Sonko at his house in Mountain View Estate in which they discussed the case in details.

He was further found guilty of lack of accountability, involvement in corrupt practices and impropriety by presiding over a succession case in Malindi in which he had an interest in acquiring one of the properties in dispute.

The final allegations were that the judge engaged in subversion of justice through commenting and advising a litigant on matters pending before court, lack of professionalism and unbecoming conduct as a judge.

The judge have until Friday (tomorrow) which will mark the tenth day since the tribunal made the recommendation to file the full appeal at the Supreme Court.