Economy

JSC dismisses misconduct suit against top court judges

amadi

Judiciary Chief Registrar Anne Amadi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Three Supreme Court judges can now breathe a sigh of relief after the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) dismissed a petition filed against them over allegations of bribery and misconduct.

The petition had been filed by Jared Ongeri, following a decision by the Court in a majority decision to reverse the nullification of the election of Wajir governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud.

Mr Ongeri wanted Justices Jackton Ojwang (now retired), Mohamed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala and Njoki Ndung’u removed for alleged misconduct.

He had claimed that a senior government official contacted one of the judges and prevailed upon him to change his mind a day before the judgement was delivered. The call, he claimed, influenced the judge to side with the majority in the judgement of February 15, 2019.

Mr Ongeri had promised to table before the JSC, detailed confidential evidence against the judges, alleging that they were contacted to overturn the nullification of the election and save Mr Mohamud from a possible by-election.

Mr Mohamud's election was challenged by former Governor Ahmed Abdullahi and Mr Ahmed Muhumed Abdi.

The two petitioners had succeeded in both the High Court and Court of Appeal in their cases for the removal of Mr Mohamud over his academic qualifications. They claimed he lacked a university degree, a mandatory requirement for governor aspirants.

But Mr Mohamud successfully appealed at the Supreme Court and his election was upheld although Chief Justice David Maraga and Justice Isaack Lenaola dissented.

The judges filed their responses saying Mr Ongeri should strictly prove the allegations.

Justice Ibrahim had defended the decision rendered by the majority, saying he made it “consciously, independently and without bad faith or undue influence whatsoever”.

JSC secretary Anne Amadi said the JSC deliberated on the matter on November 11 and upon consideration, the commission noted that Mr Ongeri was given an opportunity to prove the allegations but failed to furnish the judges with specific claims of bribery and present evidence, to support his case.

“The commission therefore resolved that the allegations raised therein were unsubstantiated and devoid of evidence in support of the petition and the same should be dismissed,” said Ms Amadi.