LSK calls out DP Gachagua over bid to have Justice Esther Maina sacked

Wednesday, January 17th, 2024 12:28 | By
Law Society of Kenya President Eric Theuri during a past function. PHOTO/Philip Kamakya

The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has criticized Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua over his intention to petition for the removal of High Court Judge Esther Maina.

Gachagua on Sunday, January 14, declared his intention to seek the removal of Justice Maina from office, citing misconduct and corruption.

The country's second in command accused the judge of declaring his hard-earned wealth amounting to Ksh202 million proceeds of corruption without giving him an opportunity to be heard.

Reacting to Gachagua's remarks, LSK President Eric Theuri dismissed the DP's utterances against the judge as reckless, given his office.

"We take great exception to the statements that were made by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. To suggest that a court is wrong or corrupt merely because it made a decision against you is not only reckless but also a case of tragicomedy," the LSK boss stated.

"It suggests to us that the deputy president does not understand the public trust that repossesses in his office and the requirements contained in the public offices' ethics act and the constitution that the actions and utterances of public officers must bring honour and respect to the offices that they hold," he added.

Gachagua is expected to file the petition against Justice Maina on Thursday afternoon.

According to Gachagua, the petition is in response to Chief Justice Martha Koome's appeal to the executive to table evidence linking any judge to corruption after President William Ruto recently accused the courts of being used by malicious actors to sabotage government projects.

"She (Koome) has challenged us and I will lead by example. On Thursday, this coming week, at 2:15 pm I will personally present a petition before Lady Chief Justice Martha Koome against Justice Esther Maina for her removal from the judiciary for misconduct and corruption," Gachagua said during a church service at Iten Sports Ground last Sunday.

"Against the rules of evidence where who he alleges must prove, we made an application to cross-examine the investigator and she refused because she knew there was no case," he added.

DP Gachagua asked members of the public with similar complaints against judicial officers to join him on Thursday as he formally petitions for the removal of Justice Maina from office.

"I want to ask all Kenyans with similar petitions against judges to join me on Thursday we submit together so that she (Koome) can start processing them," he added.

Gachagua's graft case

Justice Maina had in July 2022 ordered Gachagua to forfeit his Ksh202 million to the state, saying the money held in four accounts at Rafiki Microfinance was proceeds of corruption.

The judge ruled that Gachagua, who was then a presidential running mate for Ruto, had received the money from State agencies, but there was no evidence to prove that he had supplied any goods or services to the government.

“I have carefully considered the evidence on record including affidavits, annexures and submissions by all parties and I am satisfied that the funds are liable for forfeiture to the government,” the judge said.

However, Gachagua got a reprieve eight months later after the Assets and Recovery Agency (ARA) agreed to have the millions forfeited to the State refunded following an appeal lodged by the deputy president.

ARA told the court that it had established that the funds were not proceeds of crime as earlier alleged.

ARA, through its investigating officer Sergeant Fredrick Musyoki, informed the Court of Appeal in February 2023 that the agency never investigated allegations by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) that Gachagua obtained the money fraudulently from various State institutions and the Bungoma County Government.

The fresh turn of events came three months after the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) withdrew a Ksh7.3 billion graft case against Gachagua, citing a lack of evidence to sustain graft charges against the DP.

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