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Judges and Magistrates Vetting board kicks out three magistrates

The chairman Judges and Magistrates Vetting board Sharad Rao flanked by his deputy Roseline Odede address the press as Masada Hotel in Naivasha where they kicked out three magistrates terming them unfit to serve the public. (PHOTO: ANTONY GITONGA/STANDARD)

NAKURU: Three magistrates have been kicked out of the judiciary after they were deemed unfit to serve the public by the Judges and Magistrates Vetting board.

The three sacked magistrates are Teresia Njeri Ngugi, Bildad Ochieng and Lily Monica Nafula while 23 others were cleared.

According to the board chairman, Sharad Rao, it had emerged after a two months' vetting that the trio were not fit to continue serving as magistrates.

Flanked by the board members, the chairman said that the main issues that emerged during the vetting were capacity, competence, attitude and integrity.

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

While releasing the results at Masada Hotel in Naivasha on Tuesday, Rao said that the vetting exercise of 15 more magistrates would be the last one.

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

"We hope to have vetted all the judges and magistrates apart from one who has case in the High Court challenging the board's power to carry our re-vetting," he said.

While releasing the results, Rao noted that Hon Njeri was relieved off her duties after the board received three complaints against her.

He noted that the magistrate had several questionable cash deposits in her account of Sh50,000 terming her explanation as not credible.

"The board finds that there are several large and unexplained deposits in the magistrates' financial records," he said.

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

In the case against Hon Ochieng’, the board noted that he failed to appear before them 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.

Hon Nafula on the other hand 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 that 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.