GROSS MISCONDUCT

Justice Muya fights to retain post, asks apex court to hear appeal

Says Judicial Service Commission had no jurisdiction to initiate his removal from office.

In Summary

• The complaint that led to Muya’s sacking was filed by NIC Bank.

• The tribunal concluded that he was guilty of gross misconduct for delaying for five months, reasons for a ruling dated May 30, 2017, in a commercial row pitting Kipsigis Stores against NIC Bank.

High Court judge Martin Muya
APPEAL: High Court judge Martin Muya
Image: FILE

 A High Court judge has asked the Supreme Court to allow an appeal he has lodged against recommendations by a seven-member tribunal that sacked him in March last year over gross misconduct.

Justice Martin Muya yesterday told Supreme Court judges that the Judicial Service Commission did not have the jurisdiction to initiate his removal from office.

The complaint that led to Muya’s sacking was filed by NIC Bank. The tribunal concluded that he was guilty of gross misconduct for delaying for five months reasons for a ruling dated May 30, 2017, in a commercial row pitting Kipsigis Stores against NIC Bank.

According to the tribunal, there was unjustifiable and inordinate delay by the judge in delivering the ruling that saw the bank lose a substantial amount of money.

But Muya, through lawyer Philip Nyachoti, told the apex court the letter from the law firm, on behalf of the bank, did not amount to a complaint to the JSC.

Nyachoti explained that the NIC file had gone missing and when it was traced, he delivered the reasons for his ruling.

“The judge was never given a fair trial. We submit that the validity (the foundation of the allegations) of the petition is at question.

"It was the former Chief Justice who thought the letter from the bank and the allegations contained therein amounted to gross misconduct and forwarded the file to JSC,” he said.

Nyachoti said even after Muya issued his ruling in the NIC matter without the reasons, the bank and its lawyer had the opportunity to move to the court of appeal, but they chose not to appeal. 

In response, the state, represented by lawyer Mnene Eredi, said the tribunal looked at the totality of the complaints and not whether there was a valid petition before the JSC.

Eredi said Muya was accorded fair administration action by JSC and the tribunal. 

“The totality of the allegations facing the judge amounts to gross misconduct. He was given an opportunity to respond to these allegations.

"He made wild claims before the JSC about the bank levying illegal interest. The recommendations for his removal were well founded, I urge you to dismiss this petition,” he said.

The apex court will render its judgment on notice.