Supreme Court judge Jackton Ojwang./COURTESY
The tribunal investigating the conduct of Supreme Court Judge Jackton Ojwang’ has declared him innocent.
In its findings, the tribunal said that the evidence presented against the judge did not meet the threshold to warrant his removal from the bench.
“After adducing and analysing all the allegations made against the Honourable Justice, the unanimous verdict is that the Judge of the Supreme Court Justice Jackton Ojwang is innocent of all the allegations made against him and that he should resume his duties immediately,” Chairman of the Tribunal Justice Alnashir Visram said as his team presented their report to President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday.
The investigation into the conduct of Justice Ojwang was initiated in response to a request by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) made on March 19 this year.
The move by the JSC was triggered by a petition made by one Mr Nelson Oduor and eight others in which varied allegations of misconduct, incompetence and breach of the judicial code of conduct were made against the judge.
During the probe, the Justice Visram-led tribunal sieved through evidence presented by 25 witnesses and considered the applicable legal principles before arriving at the conclusion that the judge was innocent.
“Your Excellency, our unanimous recommendation, therefore is that Justice Jackton B. Ojwang, ought not to be removed from office and the current suspension should be lifted,” the tribunal notes in its report to the President.
President Kenyatta thanked the tribunal for executing its mandate judiciously saying, “you have done very well in promoting human justice”.
Justice Visram thanked the Head of State for the government’s support especially in ensuring that his team was adequately resourced.
Other members of the tribunal present during the presentation of the report were Lucy Kambuni, Justice (Rtd) Festus Azangalala, Ambrose Weda, Andrew Bahati Mwamuye, Sylvia Muchiri and Amina Abdalla.
Also present were Paul Nyamodi (lead counsel) and joint secretaries Peter Kariuki and Josiah Musili.
The judge was suspended on April 2, after the JSC recommended to President Kenyatta for the formation of a tribunal to investigate his conduct.
Two complaints had been filed against the judge and instead of appearing before the JSC to defend himself, Justice Ojwang’ opted to send his lawyer Nani Mungai to represent him.
Judge Ojwang’ was accused of gross misconduct, impropriety, conflict of interest and breach of judicial code of conduct.
While recommending for his probe, JSC said despite being conflicted and being closely associated with Migori Governor Okoth Obado, Justice Ojwang’ sat in the bench that heard a case involving the governor.
He, however, defended himself saying he was not part of the bench that determined the main grievance which related to interests in the Sony Sugar-belt area.
The second matter revolved around the grading of a road in Kakrao, Migori County, but it later emerged that it was a public road and was not done in favour of the Judge.
The complaint was that Justice Ojwang’ authored a judgment regarding the Sony Sugar belt and in return was rewarded by Mr Obado, who allegedly refurbished the road to the judge’s private home on the outskirts of Migori town.