The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has indefinitely deferred the hearing of petitions seeking the removal of High Court Judge Said Juma Chitembwe from office.
The Commission on Tuesday allowed Justice Chitembwe’s request for more time to file his responses in the graft probe against him.
This comes five days after the High Court dismissed Chitembwe’s bid to block the Commission from deliberating on petitions before JSC including one by former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko who has accused the judge of impropriety.
In a ruling delivered on Friday, Justice Hedwig Ong’udi argued that granting the order would stop the Commission from carrying out its lawful mandate without hearing the respondents.
“The application is based on an allegation that the petitioner was not given sufficient time to respond. That is an issue that JSC can deal with,” Justice Ong’udi said.
“I have therefore not been shown any violation of the law to make this court grant the prayers sought by the petitioner at this point.”
Chitembwe had argued that the video and audio recordings published by Sonko on his various social media platforms were made without his knowledge and consent.
He also told the court that the dates on the said recordings are unverifiable. He is also challenging the authenticity of a video conversation between his alleged brother, Amana Saidi Jirani and an unidentified person on an unknown date.
Further, the judge claimed that the JSC is yet to formulate any procedural regulations for the removal of a judge from office.
Justice Chitembwe also expressed his dissatisfaction in the manner in which the commission was handling the matter. He told the court that his rights to a fair hearing will be prejudiced.
”The petitioner is genuinely apprehensive that the JSC reliance on purported audio and video recordings obtained by the 1st respondents in contravention of the constitution will greatly prejudice the petitioner’s rights to fair administrative action from the JSC,” court documents read.
He also faulted the commission for giving him 19 days to prepare for the hearing. He also accused the JSC of not forwarding to him any witness statements or list of documents to be relied upon.