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No foreign accounts for judges, orders CJ Maraga

By Moses Nyamori | November 27th 2018

Judges have been barred from operating offshore accounts and receiving personal loans.

In a raft of new guidelines by Chief Justice David Maraga  judges and magistrates have also been barred from holding any private communication with litigants and engaging in Government tenders.

Any judge with a reasonable reason to operate an offshore account will be required to apply for approval through the Chief Justice.

The regulations currently before the National Assembly also require judges allowed to run offshore accounts to submit their annual financial statements to the Judicial Service Commission for verification.

“A judge who has reasonable grounds for opening or operating a bank account outside Kenya shall apply to the commission, through the office of the Chief Justice, for approval to open or operate a bank account,” reads the regulations.

The code of conduct and ethics further bars judges from soliciting contributions from the public.

It states that they can only engage in such contributions when there is a national disaster declared by the President.

It will also be a breach of contract for a judge and any member of their families to accept personal loans, gifts or negotiate for remuneration or use their positions to demand for certain privileges.

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Accepting rewards

“A judge, or any member of the judge’s family, shall not directly or indirectly negotiate or accept remuneration, loan, gift, advantage or privilege that is incompatible with judicial office or that can reasonably be perceived as being intended to influence the judge in the performance of his or her judicial duties, or to serve as a reward,” reads the revised edition.

It further bars a judge from holding private communication over a matter before them. Should a litigant initiate such a communication, the regulations compel the officer to share details of the communication with the other parties in the matter.

“If a judge receives private communication under sub-paragraph (1), the judge shall ensure other parties concerned are promptly informed, and shall keep an official record of the same,” it adds.

The regulations further spell out what a judge can post on social media, warning against any post that shows a judge’s position on a matter before court.

It says a judge will be held responsible for his or her online activity and should avoid any activity or association that may “reflect adversely on the judge’s impartiality or interference with the performance of judicial duties or status of the office.”

No judge, it adds, will participate either directly or indirectly in a tender for supplying goods and services to the Judiciary or the Judicial Service Commission.

Chief Registrar Anne Amadi said the guidelines set standards for ethical conduct of judges, judicial officers and staff.

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