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Three magistrates kicked out of Judiciary for incompetence

By Antony Gitonga | Oct 14th 2015 | 2 min read

Unexplained large cash deposits and harshness, including jailing a sick old man, were among complaints that have cost three magistrates their jobs.

Teresia Njeri, Bildad Ochieng’ and Lily Nafula were yesterday found unsuitable to continue serving in the Judiciary by the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board.

The chairman of the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board Sharad Rao, and his deputy Roseline Odede, addressing the Press as Masada Hotel in Naivasha yesterday. (PHOTO: ANTONY GITONGA/STANDARD)

Questions about capacity, competence, attitude and integrity of the trio were the main issues raised during the two-month vetting by the board chaired by Sharad Rao that cleared 23 other magistrates.

Ms Njeri was deemed unfit to hold office after the board received three complaints against her, including unexplained large amounts of cash in her bank account.

“The board finds that there are several large and unexplained deposits in the magistrates’ financial records,” Mr Rao said.

Her explanation was not credible, he added, while releasing the results at Masada Hotel in Naivasha yesterday.

Rao also said that Njeri’s judgments, which the board examined, were lacking structure, poorly written and the awards pointed to incompetence.

“Writing skills continue to be a problem and we continue to point out the gaps to the judicial officers,” he said.

In the case against Mr Ochieng’, the board noted that he failed to appear for vetting on September 8, 2015, despite been served.

“The board finds the magistrate’s conduct highly disrespectful and unbecoming for a judicial officer and it indicates lack of diligence,” he said.

He added that the board received three complaints against the chief magistrate including one where he harassed a sick old man by ordering his arrest and committal to civil jail.

Ms Nafula had two complaints against her, including maliciously jailing a suspect for contempt of court, a sentence termed as too harsh by the board.

Rao said the magistrate admitted that the conviction was too harsh, adding that she did not give any satisfactory explanation to justify her decision.

“The board is not impressed by the attitude of the magistrate and determines that she is not suitable to continue serving as a magistrate,” he said.

Rao said that the vetting of 15 more magistrates would be the last.

He was optimistic that the board would conclude its assignment by March 31, 2016, as it will have vetted all the judges and magistrates who served before the promulgation of the new Constitution.

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