President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday suspended High Court Judge Said Chitembwe to pave way for investigations into alleged gross misconduct.
At the same time, the Head of State formed a tribunal to lead the investigations. This follows recommendations by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
The tribunal will be chaired by Justice Mumbi Ngugi with Jasper Mbiuki and Sarah Yamo assuming the role of joint secretaries.
Members of the tribunal include Dr. Fred N. Ojiambo, Hon. Lady Justice Abida Ali Aroni, Justice Nzioki wa Makau, Mr. James Ochieng’ Oduol, Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Jackson W. Ndung’u and Dr. Lydia Nzomo.
Kiragu Kimani was appointed the lead counsel with Joseph Gitonga Riungu and Edward Omotii Nyang’au assisting him.
JSC made its recommendations a fortnight ago after considering several petitions seeking the removal of the judge over impropriety and gross misconduct.
“The Commission would like to notify the public that the panel constituted to consider the Petitions (seeking removal of Chitembwe) concluded its work and presented its report to the full Commission for deliberation.
“At its meeting of 27th April 2022, the JSC considered the report of the panel on the petition initiated by the commission on its own motion, and is satisfied that the Petition discloses grounds for the removal of Hon. Mr. Justice Chitembwe Said Juma from office, pursuant to the provisions of Article 168(1) of the Constitution,” Chief Justice Martha Koome said in a statement on May 4 while affirming the Commission’s commitment to the values of integrity and accountability in the Judiciary.
Chitembwe was implicated in graft in secretly-recorded videos published on social media by former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko in November last year.
Some of the videos show the events leading to Sonko’s impeachment and Justice Chitembwe’s alleged involvement in fraudulent dealings in his chambers.
In one of the clips, Justice Chitembwe’s alleged brother Amana Saidi Jirani confidently confesses to being the bona fide proxy to the judge.