Maraga throws ‘stubborn’ Justice Ojwang’ under the bus

Chief Justice David Maraga in his capacity as the Chairman of JSC has said they will write a letter to President Kenyatta to form a tribunal charged with investigating the conduct of Justice Ojwang’.

This follows allegations of close associations with Migori County and its governor.

One complaint against the judge is that he authored a judgment with respect to the Sony Sugar belt and in return was rewarded by Governor Obado, who allegedly built a road to his private residence on the outskirts of Migori town.

There are also allegations including being bribed to deliver favourable rulings and being a partial arbitrator.

Reasonable grounds

The JSC said on Wednesday that the accusations against Justice Ojwang formed reasonable grounds to warrant the formation of the tribunal.

It singled out miscellaneous application No.49 of 2014, of the town council of Awendo versus Mr Nelson Oduor Onyango and eight other residents of Migori.

“The petition detailed instances which the petitioners believed constituted grounds of misconduct, impropriety, conflict of interest and breach of the judicial code of conduct on the part of the judge,” the JSC said in a statement.

Close links with Obado

It noted that Justice Ojwang sat with other judges of the Supreme Court in hearing the matter “…despite being conflicted and closely associated with Migori County and Governor Okoth Obado”.

The JSC said “the commission found that the petition disclosed sufficient ground to warrant a recommendation to the President to set up a tribunal for the removal of Justice Ojwang and accordingly adopted it”.

Missed session

Members, led by Chief Justice David Maraga, regretted that the judge refused to appear before the committee appointed to probe the matter despite being served with a notice.

The judge faced two charges and the JSC insists that he appear in person before it as the matters are only within his knowledge.

In the second matter, which was raised by former Law Society of Kenya CEO Apollo Mboya, Justice Ojwang alongside justices Mohamed Ibrahim and Njoki Ndung’u are accused of writing a judgment despite a pending disciplinary matter.

In his response to the JSC, Justice Ojwang says he has constitutional immunity and that the commission has no mandate to investigate the issue, a position that the commissioners said left them with no alternative but to recommend the setting up of a tribunal to investigate his conduct.

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