Panel wants eight magistrates sacked

A vetting board has recommended the sacking of eight magistrates it found unsuitable to hold office.

Friday January 15 2016

Judges and Magistrates vetting Board Chairperson Sharad Rao during seventeenth announcement on the determination on suitability of judges and magistrates on January 14, 2016 at their offices where eight were found unsuitable while 29 others were found suitable to continue serving. He is flanked by his vice chairperson Roseline Odede. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE |

Judges and Magistrates vetting Board Chairperson Sharad Rao during seventeenth announcement on the determination on suitability of judges and magistrates on January 14, 2016 at their offices where eight were found unsuitable while 29 others were found suitable to continue serving. He is flanked by his vice chairperson Roseline Odede. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JOHN NJAGI
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A vetting board has recommended the sacking of eight magistrates it found unsuitable to hold office over corruption and questionable judgments.

The Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board, which has completed vetting all the judicial officers except Justice Nicholas Ombija, also cleared High Court Judge Abida Ali Aroni and 28 magistrates.

Board Chairman Sharad Rao said his team, which expects to wind up its work in two months, had resorted to lifestyle audits to identify corrupt officials.

“Corruption is a vice that is hard to weed out, but the board has adopted a broad approach, including lifestyle audits, to infer financial corruption.

Completely weeding out corruption requires sustained pressure and a societal mindset change. It is a process,” he said.

Most of the magistrates who were found wanting had questionable sources of income, with multiple bank accounts in which large sums of money were deposited.

The money could not be accounted for. Some of the officials had received bribes to defeat justice, the team explained.

Mr Rao also cited incompetence among some officers and called for collaboration with universities to create a “structured continuing education programme” to improve standards.

He spoke at the board’s offices in Nairobi on Thursday.

Mr Rao said Parliament and the Judicial Service Commission should consider setting up an independent complaints commission to conduct lifestyle audits of judicial officers after the board completes its work.

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