President Kibaki on Wednesday suspended Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza and appointed a seven-member tribunal to investigate her conduct.
The team will be chaired by former Tanzanian Chief Justice Augustino Stephen Lawrence Ramdhan.
The members are Prof Judith Mbula Behemuka, Justice (Rtd) Philip Ransley, Surinder Kapila, Beauttah Alukhava Siganga, Grace Barbara Ngele Madoka and Prof Mugambi Jesse Ndwiga Kanyua.
The President also appointed Ms Valeria Onyango as lead counsel and Gideon Solonka Kilakoi assisting counsel to assist the tribunal.
The Head of State said the mandate of the tribunal shall be to investigate the conduct of the DCJ on the basis of Articles 168 (I)(e), 73(I)(a) and (b), and 75(I) and (2) of the Constitution and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Code of Conduct and Ethics, Legal Notice No 50 and other relevant laws and matters.
Accused of assaulting guard
The President said he suspended the DCJ from exercising the functions of her office with immediate effect according to Article 168(5) of the Constitution.
Ms Baraza was accused of assaulting and threatening to shoot Ms Rebecca Kerubo, a guard at the Village Market shopping mall, on the New Year eve.
The JSC recommended the suspension of Ms Baraza on January 13, and asked President Kibaki to appoint a tribunal to investigate her conduct. (READ: JSC wants Baraza out)
She took it in her stride, saying she respected the decision of the JSC. (READ: Baraza: No retreat, no surrender)
She has retained lawyers George Oraro, Chacha Odera and Cyprian Wekesa to act for her on the matter.
“My case is in the able hands of lawyers and people should leave me alone,” she said.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga petitioned the President to suspend her on recommendation of a sub-committee of the JSC that investigated the claims that Ms Baraza pinched the guard on the nose and threatened to shoot her.
Dr Mutunga said the team did not look at the criminal culpability of his deputy but the code of conduct for judicial officers.
Article 168 of the Constitution says a judge of a superior court may be removed from office for gross misconduct or misbehaviour.
Police had recommended that she be charged with assault and gun-related offences but Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko returned the file for more investigations.
Last week, police returned the file to Mr Tobiko, who is yet to make public his decision.
As deputy president of the Supreme Court, Ms Baraza was the most senior woman in the Judiciary.
She previously served ad deputy chair of the Kenya Law Reform Commission and was a commissioner with the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission.
The tribunal will prepare and submit a report and its recommendations to the President, exercise all the powers conferred upon it by law for the proper execution of its mandate.