AG asked to speed up probe of judge

By: JILLO KADIDA

THE judiciary wants a swift investigation of alleged misconduct by judge Joseph Mutava. The Judicial Service Commission requested Attorney General Githu Muigai and the state law office to urgently form the tribunal so it can deal with the allegations expeditiously.

Mutava terminated the Sh5.8 billion Goldenberg scandal case against businessman Kamlesh Pattni in March 2013. The decision caused a public uproar and civil society questioned the judge’s ethics and credibility. The request for a swift investigation comes after recent warnings by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga that judges who are not effective will be out of work.

On August 4, while speaking at a gathering for judges, the CJ said their ineffectiveness is driven by “poverty of selfrespect and honour”. By press time, the AG was yet to respond to the judiciary’s request. The JSC investigated Mutava on the basis of three of the nine complaints filed by the Law Society of Kenya.

The JSC subcommittee scrutinising the complaints against Mutava ruled that three of the nine allegations justify a probe. On May 17, the committee chaired by former deputy chairperson Christine Mango, recommended that President Uhuru Kenyatta appoint the probe team.

On May 30, 2013, Uhuru appointed a tribunal to investigate Mutava based on the JSC’s recommendations. Mutava moved to the High Court challenging the decision to investigate him. He said his rights to fair administrative action had been breached.

Mutava successful argued the case before the High Court but the JSC appealed the decision. On May 8, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the commission. The tribunal is yet to start its work, prompting the JSC to approach the AG.