Tuesday, November 5, 2013

JSC defends tribunal on Pattni case judge

Monday, November 4, 2013

JSC defends tribunal on Pattni case judge

PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | FILE Mr Justice Joseph Mutava.

By PAUL OGEMBAMore by this Author
The Judicial Service Commission has defended its decision to recommend the suspension of Mr Justice Joseph Mutava over his handling of cases involving businessman Kamlesh Pattni.
The JSC, through registrar Wilfrida Mokaya, said in response to Justice Mutava’s petition challenging his suspension that it acted within the law and that it did not violate it as he claimed.
Ms Mokaya swore that the JSC did not say Justice Mutava be removed from office but only carried their mandate of recommending to the President to constitute a tribunal to investigate his conduct after they were satisfied that claims against him went against the code of ethics for judicial officers.
“The JSC inquiry was not a criminal trial and not intended to establish the culpability of the claims to the required standard of criminal trials. In any event, there was no obligation for the JSC to communicate to him since any communication about decisions reached was only to the President,” said Ms Mokaya.
She defended the tribunal appointed by the President to investigate Justice Mutava’s conduct, saying: “It is premature and speculative for the petitioner to allege violation of his rights before the tribunal begins its work. His petition has no merit and should be dismissed to allow the tribunal to proceed with its work,” said Ms Mokaya.
The registrar added that the Chief Justice had no powers to reinstate Justice Mutava once the JSC had recommended his suspension and that his return to office or final removal would depend on the outcome of the tribunal.
The CJ appointed Judges Mumbi Ngugi, Pauline Nyamweya and George Odunga to hear and determine the matter filed by Justice Mutava.
The judges directed all the parties to file and exchange their submissions before the hearing on November 28.
The JSC position was supported by the Attorney-General who said that Justice Mutava had not disclosed any prejudice he would suffer if the tribunal went ahead with its investigations.
Through litigation counsel Shola Mbilo, the AG submitted that the tribunal would be the right forum for the judge to challenge JSC’s decision to recommend his suspension.
“The court will be undermining the constitutional framework of other institutions if it goes ahead to determine the dispute. Justice Mutava should appear before the tribunal and should only seek a redress in court if not satisfied with the tribunal’s findings,” said Mbilo.

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