Kenya:Judiciary under siege over graft

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

Justice Jackton Ojwang
Justice Jackton Ojwang

History is about to repeat itself in Judiciary as a Supreme Court Judge risked being axed from the bench over gross misconduct, abuse of office and corruption.

Justice Jackton Ojwang’ is accused of two charges. In the first complaint, it is alleged he benefited from the construction of a road leading to his rural home in Migori County, in return for a favorable ruling involving Migori Governor Okoth Obado. Governor Obado was faced by a scandal in the Sugar board.

In the second count, he is accused alongside his co-justices Mohamed Ibrahim and Njoki Ndungu for writing a judgment pending a disciplinary matter.

On Tuesday, March 19, Judiciary Service Commission summoned Justice Ojwang’ to appear before it to answer the questions surrounding his conduct. However, he boycotted the summon saying he is being unfairly targeted for wrongs he had not done.

“From the whole context of this matter and from the full context of the ill-intent against me such as is quite evident, I will not be appearing before the well-known committee members of the Judicial Commission,” said Justice Ojwang’.

In a swift rejoinder, the commission has written to President Uhuru Kenyatta recommending that he forms a tribunal to investigate the judge.

In a statement delivered by Chief Justice David Maraga, the commission said it has strong evidence that Ojwang’ was involved in gross misconduct.

He will be the fourth Judge to face the tribunal which had pushed for the removal of former deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza, former Supreme Court Judge Philip Tunoi and former High Court Judge Joseph Mutava

Ms. Nancy Baraza resigned after she was found guilty of  assaulting a security guard, Philip Tunoi was accused of receiving Kshs.200 million ($2 million) bribe from former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero to influence the outcome of an election petition filed by his opponent whereas Joseph Mutava was found culpable of terminating all criminal cases against Goldenberg Scandal mastermind Kamlesh Pattni.

This came barely two weeks after Nairobi lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi filed a petition at the Judiciary Service Commission seeking removal of four Supreme Court Judges over bribery claims in the Wajir gubernatorial petition. The Judges named are Njoki Ndung’u, Smokin Wanjala, Mohamed Ibrahim and Jacktone Ojwang’.

The deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu is also facing court charges over corruption. Mwilu is accused of abuse of office, accepting money in the form of a gift, failure to pay taxes, and obtaining by false pretense security belonging to imperial Bank which is under receivership.

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