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Three Supreme Court Judges Cleared In Bribery Claims

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The Judicial Service Commission has dismissed a petition filed against three judges of the Supreme Court last year, over the manner in which they handled the Wajir gubernatorial election petition.

JSC dismissed the petition by Jared Ongeri, who wanted Justices Mohammed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala and Njoki Ndung’u after saying the petitioner failed to furnish evidence implicating the judges.

In the decision, the JSC said they gave Onegri time to file better particulars as requested by the commission but he failed to present them.

“The Commission therefore resolved that the allegations raised therein were unsubstantiated and devoid of evidence in support of the Petition and the same should therefore be dismissed. This therefore, is to convey to you the above decision of the Commission to the effect that the Petition has been dismissed,” said the commission.

Judges Mohamed Ibrahim and Njoki Ndung’u had scoffed off at allegations of bribery and misconduct made against them.

In detailed responses, the two Judges had asked JSC to dismiss Ongeri’s petition dated March 8 as incompetent and an abuse of judicial process.

“The petitioner has not demonstrated or factually established any manner in which I have breached the Judicial Code of Conduct. The entire series of statements in the petition are no more than wild speculation and outright falsehoods,” Justice Ndung’u said in her sworn statement.

In an eight-page affidavit, Justice Ndung’u said upon learning about the allegations, she instructed lawyer Andrew Musangi to report to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations about the petitioner’s “criminal misconduct and corruption.”

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“I have requested the DCI to commence very urgent investigations of the facts alleged by the petitioner and ensure anyone found culpable is immediately arraigned before court on appropriate charges, including myself, if any such evidence emerges,” Justice Ndung’u said.

Ongeri ‘s petition displayed his disagreement with the outcome of the Wajir gubernatorial election petition, the Judge asserted, but the JSC had no power to supervise Supreme Court decisions. “The entire petition is incompetent for violating my judicial immunity enshrined in Article 160 (5) of the Constitution,” she said.

Lawyer Wambua Kilonzo, on behalf of Justice Ibrahim, sent a ten-page summary response in which he denied allegations of corruption and bribery involving the controversial election petition in which the Supreme Court ruled 4/2 in favour of Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi against his predecessor Ahmed Abdullahi.

By a letter dated March 11, Ongeri, through lawyer Omwanza Ombati, had claimed that Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed had prevailed upon Justice Ibrahim to change his mind and side with the majority a day before the judgment was delivered on February 15. He had alleged that Adan was a close ally and friend to Justice Ibrahim.

However, on March 15, Omwanza wrote to the JSC withdrawing the allegations against Adan. The claims of improper communication between the CS and the Judge had no factual basis and deserve to be struck out, Kilonzo argued.

He denied Ongeri’s assertions that Justice Ibrahim may have been a beneficiary of alleged bribes channeled through Justices Ndung’u and Wanjala. “The petition does not disclose any gross misconduct or breach of the Judicial Code of Conduct and Ethics against Justice Ibrahim,” the lawyer said.

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“The petitioner has not availed any material before the JSC to link Justice Ibrahim to any money raised for him as a Judge through the alleged contacts or network. In any event, it is not within the ambit of the JSC to order or carry out investigations on behalf of the petitioner or any party,” Kilonzo said.

It was unclear whether Justice Jacton Ojwang, whom the JSC has recommended to President Uhuru Kenyatta to appoint a tribunal to investigate his alleged misconduct on an unrelated matter, had responded to the allegations. The Judge had failed to make a personal appearance before the commission before the verdict was made public by Chief Justice David Maraga.


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