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ELECTION 2022

Eight Kenyan magistrates 'unfit for office'

NAIROBI
By Ally Jamah | Jan 15th 2016 | 2 min read
Chairman of the Kenya Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board Sharad Rao (right) and Deputy Chairperson, Judges & Magistrates Vetting Board Roseline Odede addressing the press in Nairobi on 1/1/16 Photo:BEVERLYNE MUSILI

Eight magistrates have been found unsuitable to hold office by the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board.

At the same time, the Sharad Rao-led board gave a lifeline to High Court judge Abida Ali-Aroni after reviewing its earlier recommendation for her removal following her appeal.

The board, whose term ends on March 31 this year, also indicated it will proceed to the Supreme Court over the fate of High Court Judge Nicholas Ombija, who has challenged his fresh vetting.

Initially, the board had declared Ombija unfit to hold office before deciding to hold a fresh vetting to relook into his case. But the judge challenged the fresh vetting at the High Court and Court of Appeal.

"The board hopes that the appeal will be heard before the board's term expires and is able to act in compliance of however the Supreme Court decides," said Rao

The magistrates who have been found unsuitable include Timothy Odiwuor Okello, William Kipkemei Chepseba, Jacinta Kwena Dibondo, Samuel Mokua Mogaka, Roselyn Akinyi Oganyo, Nyagah Jessi Njagi, Lucy Kathure Mutai and Teresia Mumbua Matheka

Magistrate Okello was found unable to manage his finances as he issued a cheque that bounced. He was also found culpable in some court cases for being partisan.

Chepseba could also not satisfactorily explain the source of his finances, including deposits in his account.

He also landed in trouble after irregularly dismissing a petition challenging elections in Siaya. His ruling was found to be sketchy.

Mogaka, Dibondo, Mutai and Nyagah had several unexplained deposits in their accounts while Oganyo was found to be of doubtful integrity.

Matheka faced two complaints including convicting a suspect even before conducting a hearing. In another case, she convicted a person who was not even an accused in the case.

Twenty-nine judicial officers were found suitable to hold office after their vetting.

The board suggested that the Judicial Service Commission and or Parliament should set up an independent complaints commission to deal with complaints against judicial officers.

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