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Sacked apex court deputy registrar reinstated

Saturday September 21 2019

Lucy Njora

Lucy Njora during a past event. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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A judge has ordered the reinstatement of a former deputy registrar of the Supreme Court who was sacked over a case involving the retirement of two judges of the apex court.

Justice Nelson Abuodha ruled that the disciplinary proceedings against Lucy Njora and her eventual sacking in January last year were null and void.

The judge said Ms Njora executed her job as required by Supreme Court rules and there were no valid reasons for sacking her.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court judge ordered her to go back to her job without any loss of salary and benefits.

Ms Njora moved to court last year seeking reinstatement. Alternatively, she wanted the Judicial Service Commission to pay her Sh80 million in terminal dues.

Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga interdicted her in June 2016, after she failed to stop Supreme Court Judge Njoki Ndung’u from hearing an appeal filed by judges Philip Tunoi and former Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal, who had contested plans to retire them at 70.

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Her case has been pending before the JSC since 2016. It was not until 2018 that she was asked to appear before the commission. Seven months later, she was served with the dismissal letter without being furnished with details.

She has questioned why Dr Mutunga was not called as a witness before the JSC, being the complainant, or made any representation for the alleged insubordination.

She said Dr Mutunga wrote to her accusing her of gross misconduct by fixing the case for hearing in disregard of his direction.

In the petition, she said Justice Ndung’u was the duty judge when the matter was filed at the Supreme Court.

She said Dr Mutunga issued instructions to the Registrar of the Supreme Court, Ms Esther Nyaiyaki, and copied to all Supreme Court judges that any application or appeal touching on the retirement age of judges should be placed before him for directions.

And since Ms Nyaiyaki was away, she walked to Justice Ndungu’s chambers to relay the information. She took the Chief Justice’s copy to his chambers and even spoke to him on his phone.

She said Dr Mutunga instructed her to leave the file with his secretary.