Can't live without salary: Kiambu Magistrate resigns after suspension

In Summary

• Khaemba had been suspended for giving Governor Ferdinand Waititu Sh500,000 anticipatory bail against EACC.

• Chief Justice David Maraga said the Magistrate had no jurisdiction to entertain the matter as was not listed to him.

Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association secretary general Bryan Khaemba with lady justice Sinkiyian Tombiko [L], magistrate Derrick Kuto and Lady justice Hedwing Ong'undi addressing media at the Supreme Court on Saturday September 2, 2017
Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association secretary general Bryan Khaemba with lady justice Sinkiyian Tombiko [L], magistrate Derrick Kuto and Lady justice Hedwing Ong'undi addressing media at the Supreme Court on Saturday September 2, 2017
Image: FILE

A Kiambu Magistrate who had been suspended over gross misconduct has resigned.

Principal Magistrate Bryan Khaemba had been indefinitely suspended after he issued anticipatory bail to Governor Ferdinand Waititu despite the fact that the case was not in his jurisdiction.

Chief Justice David Maraga had written to the Magistrate on June 13 informing him that he had been suspended without pay.

In a letter dated June 14 in the response to the suspension, Khaemba denied any wrongdoing but noted that since the suspension was indefinite, he had to resign.

"Having reflected on the consequences of the suspension letter, especially on the aspect of nil salary and the fact that this process has no definite timelines, I have separately tendered my resignation letter to enable me engage in other income generating activities," Khaemba said in his letter.

Khaemba said that will also give the Council of the East African Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association (EAMJA) a chance to designate another Council Member to take charge of the Secretariat of the Association since he has been serving as the Secretary general.

According to a suspension letter from Chief Justice David Maraga, Khaemba would receive nil salary until his case is heard and determined.

In his letter, Maraga said the magistrate's actions amount to gross misconduct contrary to the Human Resource Policies and Procedures Manual.

Maraga said he had written a letter to Khaemba on May 30, where he was required to explain why he issued the order on May 23 while he had reported to be unwell and allowed to be away from duty.

This had necessitated the adjournment of all matters that had been listed before him on the said day but "he sneaked to the court and made the ruling on Waititu's matter MISC. CR APP. No 222 of 2019 yet it had not been allocated or listed to him."

The CJ said the Magistrate's explanation dated June 6, did not satisfy the JSC as he had no authority to handle the issue.

In that case, Maraga said, Khaemba had no jurisdiction to entertain the matter. Judiciary regulations requiring that anticipatory bail matters are handled by the High Court.

"In view of the above, you are hereby required to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against you for the offence," read part of the letter to Khaemba.

Maraga’s suspension follows a recommendation by the Judiciary Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman said Khaemba conducted himself in a manner likely to suggest that he has a personal interest in the matter.

Khaemba gave a Sh500,000 anticipatory bail to Waititu on the said day drawing widespread criticism as it was viewed as efforts to derail the war on corruption.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has accused  Waititu of involvement in the irregular award of tenders valued at Sh588 million, fraudulent acquisition of public funds, conflict of interest and money laundering.