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Kiambu magistrate suspended over Waititu's anticipatory bail order

In Summary

• Magistrate Bryan Khaemba had reported to be unwell which necessitated suspension of all matter placed before him on that day.

• The Magistrate however sneaked to court, gave Waititu anticipatory bail of Sh500,000 yet the matter was not in his jurisdiction.

Suspended Kiambu Principal Magistrate Bryan Khaemba
Suspended Kiambu Principal Magistrate Bryan Khaemba
Image: COURTESY

A Kiambu Magistrate has been suspended indefinitely over gross misconduct.

Principal Magistrate Bryan Khaemba who recently gave Governor Ferdinand Waititu anticipatory bail orders is said to have breached Rules 3 and 12 of the Judicial Service Code of Conduct and Ethics.

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

 

In the letter dated June 13, Chief Justice David 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 directed Khaemba to ensure if he has any legal representation, they should appear before his office within 14 days from the date of the letter.

He said failure to that, disciplinary proceedings will be instituted without any further reference to him.

 

"Meanwhile you are hereby suspended from duty with effect from the date of this letter until your disciplinary case is heard and determined," the letter read.

It added; "While on suspension, you shall receive nil salary. Your transfer to Thika Law Courts is hereby cancelled and you are required to report to the Chief Magistrate, Kiambu Law Courts every last Friday of each Month."

Maraga said Khaemba will be required to hand over all government stores in his custody and prepare a detailed hand over report to the Chief Magistrate Kiambu Law Courts copying the same to the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary.

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.