GROSS MISCONDUCT

JSC recommends tribunal to probe Supreme Court Judge Ojwang

Justice Jackton Ojwang.
Justice Jackton Ojwang.

The Judicial Service Commission has set the stage for the removal of  Supreme Court judge Jackton Ojwang over bribery claims.

In a statement delivered by Chief Justice David Maraga, JSC said it has strong evidence that Ojwang was involved in gross misconduct in a case involving Migori Governor Okoth Obado.

Jackton Ojwang on Tuesday declined to appear before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to respond to various allegations against him including being bribed to deliver favourable rulings and being a partial arbitrator.

Daily Nation had reported that JSC had been investigating his conduct and intended to recommend to President Uhuru Kenyatta to form a tribunal to investigate his conduct, setting in motion the process of removing him from office.

Ojwang, a lawyer and a Justice of Supreme Court of Kenya is accused of two charges and the JSC insists that he appear in person before it as the matters are only within his knowledge.

In the first complaint, he is accused of authoring a judgment with respect to the Sony Sugar belt and in return, he was rewarded by Migori County Governor Okoth Obado, who built a road to his private residence on the outskirts of Migori town.

Before becoming governor, Obado served as chairman of the Kenya Sugar Board.

WHO IS JUSTICE JACKTON OJWANG

Ojwang was admitted as an advocate of the High Court of Kenya in September 1983.

He joined the Judiciary of Kenya in 2003, serving as a high court judge in Nairobi and Mombasa until 2011.

In June 2012, Ojwang was among 5 Justices nominated to the Supreme Court of Kenya by the Judicial Service Commission, which had interviewed 25 applicants.

He was one of the six judges who dismissed the presidential election petition of March 30, 2013.

When former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga retired from the Office of Chief Justice in June 2016, Ojwang was one of ten people who applied to replace him.

In the second matter, which was raised by former Law Society of Kenya CEO Apollo Mboya,  Ojwang is accused alongside justices Mohamed Ibrahim and Njoki Ndung’u for writing a judgment despite a pending disciplinary matter.

Ojwang in his response to JSC said he has constitutional immunity and that the commission has no mandate to investigate the issue, a position that the commissioners said left them with no alternative but to recommend the setting up of a tribunal to investigate his conduct.

The Judge hit back at JSC accusing them of acting with malice against him.

He was initially left out of the shortlist and interview schedule prepared by the Judicial Service Commission but was later invited to interview for the job following a constitutional court case in which the Judicial Service Commission was compelled to interview all applicants who had met the minimum statutory requirements for the job.

He was interviewed but was overlooked for the job, with Court of Appeal Judge David Maraga receiving the nomination by the Commission.

At the conclusion of the 2017 presidential election petition, Justice Ojwang's rendered a dissenting opinion alongside Lady Justice Njoki Ndung'u, saying there was not enough evidence to meet the threshold to annul the Kenyan presidential election held on August 8, 2017.