Judge seeks to block ouster bid
High Court judge Said Juma Chitembwe now wants the Judicial Service Commission (JSC)stopped from hearing three petitions seeking his removal from office over alleged gross misconduct.
Justice Chitembwe through lawyer Peter Wena, in a petition wants the decision by JSC to hear the petitions quashed.
He claims that he has been given only 19 days to prepare for the hearing of the petitions, yet JSC has not forwarded to him any witness statement or list of documents to be relied upon .
The three petitions filed separately by Imgrad Beige and David Leboo Ole Kilusu, Francis Wambua and one by Judicial Service Commission are fixed for oral hearing on December 14.
Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko leaked a video footage of the judge allegedly discussing how to compromise a case.
Sonko in the video, shows a man purported to be the judge receiving a bag full of money, from a female lawyer for the purpose of defeating justice.
In the exposé, a man alleged to be George Kariuki and believed to be the Deputy State House Comptroller, claims to have been sent by ‘Deep State,’ to convince Chitembwe not to stop Sonko’s impeachment.
Dubbed the Rot in the Kenyan Judiciary the first episode of a five-part series showed events leading to Sonko’s ouster and Chitembwe’s alleged involvement in fraudulent dealings at his chambers.
Justice Chitembwe however challenges the said video, contending that the dates of the recordings are not verifiable
“The petitioner is genuinely apprehensive that the JSC reliance on purported audio and video recordings obtained by Sonko is in contravention of the Constitution and will greatly prejudice my rights to fair administrative action,” Chitembwe says in court documents.
He claims that his rights were violated when JSC failed to provide him with the video clips, telephone conversation recordings and Facebook posts relied upon.
“Unless restrained, JSC will proceed to hear and determine the petitions rendering this case null and void,” he says in court documents.
In one of the petitions at the JSC, two people accuse the judge of handling a matter, which was not in his jurisdiction and transferring a contested property to his brother.
Beige and Kilusu in their petition claim that Justice Chitembwe, who was then stationed at Malindi High Court, handled a succession case, which was concluded with a judgement on May 16, 2018.
The two who are also directors of Pacific Frontier Seas Limited, which was an objector in the suit, claimed the judge declined to transfer the file to Mombasa High Court that had the geographical and supervisory jurisdiction to hear the case.
It was also their case that before the judgement was delivered on May 16, 2018, the suit property was allegedly transferred and registered in the name of the judge’s brother, Amana Said.
In another petition, one Wambua claims that the judge is not fit to serve in the public office due to his alleged corrupt dealings
Wambua accuses the judge of engaging in corrupt deals during the litigation of cases filed by Sonko challenging his impeachment at the High Court.