Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Hellen Wasilwa has ruled she is competent to hear a case pitting the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) against its CEO Skitter Wangeci.
Dr Wangeci moved to court challenging her suspension and planned investigations on gross misconduct, insubordination and violation of the commission’s policy.
However, the commission claimed Judge Wasilwa was biased and incompetent to handle the case. In her ruling yesterday, Wasilwa said NCIC filed no evidence to prove she was incompetent or biased.
“The applicant should have proven their claims of bias against me beyond reasonable doubt, for me to recuse myself from hearing the case,” ruled Wasilwa.
She called out NCIC for doing forum shopping in their application, in the hope of tarnishing her name. She ruled that the application was made in bad faith and the court would not entertain it.
“It is time for judges and other judicial officers to resist such applications, meant to ruin their reputations, without any legal basis or evidence. The same judges should clear their names before the Judicial Service Commission if a complaint is raised there,” said Wasilwa.
The judge also rubbished claims that Justice Kebira Ocharo of the ELRC court in Nairobi, husband to Skitter was influencing the case.
NCIC had claimed since Mr Ocharo was Wasilwa’s colleague and they had a close relationship, he influenced the majority of preliminary decisions she made in the case.
However, she ruled that no evidence was presented to prove that Ocharo had been exerting pressure on the court.
“Ocharo is also a colleague to other ELRC judges. Although the applicant singled me out, it failed to avail evidence showing I was compromised by my colleague,” she ruled.