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Why Supreme Court judge Ojwang' is off the hook

Tuesday August 6 2019

Jackton Ojwang

Supreme Court judge Jackton Ojwang' at the Supreme Court on September 20, 2017 during the delivery of the judgment on the presidential poll petition. He has been found not guilty of misconduct. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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A tribunal appointed to investigate the conduct of Supreme Court Judge Jackton Ojwang’ on Monday poked holes in the manner the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) conducted the matter.

The team chaired by Court of Appeal Judge Alnashir Visram said the JSC rushed in recommending to the President that a tribunal be constituted to investigate the judge.

It faulted the JSC for failing to visit Migori County to be able to appreciate the nature of the complaint against the judge and failing to consider the opinion of an expert, which would have assisted it in understanding the complaint.

“On evaluation of the evidence, we find that there was insufficient basis for asking the President to form a tribunal to inquire into the conduct of the judge. This then leads us to the conclusion that there is need to establish a procedural threshold applicable by the JSC,” the judgment says.


They said this would include tests and standards that ought to be met at every stage of processing a petition before a recommendation to the President is made.


In their findings, the tribunal stated that though Judge Ojwang' had made comments about a matter in court and which was part of the reasons he was being investigated, the interview where he made the comments was held in September 2016 by which time the application had already been determined.

“The judge’s statement could not therefore ground the allegation that the judge had a predetermined mindset unfavourable to the petitioners when the Supreme Court considered the application,” ruled tribunal in their judgment.


The petitioners in the case against the judge also failed to substantiate claims that the judge and Migori Governor Okoth Obado were neighbours.

“In any event, friendship is not to be assumed by the mere fact that persons are neighbours,” tribunal ruled.

There was no evidence that the judge petitioned the governor or the county for the upgrading of the road leading to his home.

The tribunal visited Migori County and observed that members of the public were freely using the road and that a local church, primary and secondary school are some of the institutions that are being accessed through the road.