Board to begin vetting magistrates from Western

The Kenya Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board has promised to complete the vetting of the remaining 177 Magistrates and Kadhis before its term expires on December 31.

They include principle and chief magistrates who were supposed to have been vetted by March 2013. And in a move to hasten the process, the board will from Monday next week vet magistrates outside Nairobi.

 Speaking during a press briefing in Nairobi, the board chairman Justice Sharad Rao, said they have summoned magistrates from Western Kenya to Kisumu for the first phase to determine their suitability.

“This is a pilot project and if it goes well, as we hope it will, it shall be rolled out to other regions in the country,” he said.

The board on Friday, upheld its decision to declare four magistrates unfit to hold office out of 17 who filed for review, following the Supreme Court ruling in December last year.

The magistrates Ireri Irungu, Dennis Kinaro, Teresa Mwangi and Michael Kizito have been found unsuitable to hold office.

“The magistrates have failed to make out a case for review. Their applications failed and the initial finding of unsuitability stays,” noted Rao.

The magistrates who were found suitable on review on the ground that the considered conduct acts and omissions occurred after the effective date include Celesa Asis, Joseph Ndururi, Gilber Too, Robinson Oigara, Innocent Toyo, Walter Onchuru, Isaac Orenge, Douglas Machage, George Rachami, Sogomo Gathogo, Tanchu Ole Tina, Ruth Maloba and Phylis Shinyada.

The board has since December last year, vetted six magistrates with only Nambafu Sindano being found not suitable to serve in the Judiciary. Those found suitable include Irene Kahuya, Caroline Kerage, Anne Nyoike, Mary Njagi and Robinson Ondieki.

“We will immediately, and as quickly as possible, refer to the Judicial Service Commission matters that we think were substantially enough to have warranted the finding of unsuitability for the JSC to consider,” added Rao.

The board vowed to continue to deliver its mandate as entrusted by Kenyans.

“The board does not accept the contention that it does not lack jurisdiction nor has it lost jurisdiction to vet or review the determinations it has already made,” said Rao.

He, however, noted that court orders and proceedings on the board’s mandate have slowed down the vetting process and it will be a tall order to make up for the lost time.