JSC deploys team to probe alleged death threats on Kakamega magistrate by MP Salasya
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has dispatched a team of officers to investigate alleged threats on a Kakamega-based magistrate by Mumias East Member of Parliament Peter Salasya.
In a statement on Wednesday, November 29, JSC said the commission had received information that the MP had been threatening and intimidating Magistrate Gladys Kiama of the Kakamega Small Claims Court over a case before the court.
JSC condemned the alleged harassment terming as an attack on the independence of the Judiciary.
"These persistent threats during the hearing and after delivery of the judgement have been reported at the Kakamega Central Police Station.
"The Commission condemns such acts in the strongest terms possible. The Constitution of Kenya 2010 entrenches the independence of the Judiciary, which is only subject to the Constitution and the law; and is not subject to the control or direction of any person or authority," the statement reads in part.
The commission committed to engaging relevant investigative agencies to bring the MP to book and safeguard the independence of the third arm of government.
"The Commission has deployed its team to the ground to conduct hither investigations and engage the agencies handling the matter with a view of taking appropriate action in line with its mandate," the statement adds.
"The Commission wishes to reiterate that decisional independence of a Judge or Judicial Officer must be safeguarded at all times, and when litigants are aggrieved by the decision of the court, they may seek redress through the appellate process."
According to the complaint lodged at the Kakamega Police Station on Monday, November 27, MP Salasya threatened to kill the magistrate after she ordered the lawmaker to pay Ksh500,000 owed to a local businessman.
“At around 1230 hours while at Kakamega Law Courts, having delivered a judgement in a small claim matter vide case no. SSC E541/2023 against Hon. Peter Salasya, MP for Mumias East Constituency where he had been sued for failing to refund the money loaned to him by the claimant, he (Salasya) confronted her (Magistrate) outside the courtroom and threatened to kill her and then took off,” the police report reads in part.
"He (Salasya) has since been calling her number and texting threatening messages to her via WhatsApp. Investigations have commenced."
The MP, however, denies the claims, saying he was not at the court precincts at the time he is alleged to have threatened the judicial officer.
In the case in question, businessman Robert Lutta sued Salasya on October 23, alleging that he innocently loaned the legislator the amount in December last year in the hope that he would repay it in two months, but he became elusive.
In his defence, MP Salasya denied borrowing money from the businessman. He instead told the court that he was the one who loaned Lutta Ksh1 million through his political advisor Bernard Kemba.
However, the presiding magistrate dismissed the legislator's counterclaim, terming it as inadequate, impassable and dissuasive.
Earlier, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) also condemned the alleged threats on the magistrate and called for the immediate arrest of the lawmaker.
"Judicial officers must be able to carry out their functions without fear of intimidation or threats while adhering strictly to the law. The safety of judicial officers is critical to maintaining the integrity of the Judiciary and we expect that all necessary steps will be taken to provide a secure environment for the Magistrate and indeed all judicial officers to carry out their mandate without interference," LSK President Eric Theuri stated.
"The Law Society of Kenya calls for the immediate arrest of Hon. Peter Salasya should the ongoing investigations substantiate the serious allegations against him. This call for immediate legal action is crucial to send an unequivocal and strong message that threats."