Embattled judge Said Juma Chitembwe has been dealt a huge blow after the High Court declined to stop a probe against him over allegations of bribery and gross misconduct.
The High Court judge moved to court in December last year in an attempt to block the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) from considering three petitions seeking his removal from office.
Justice Chitembwe argued that he stood to be prejudiced and jeopardized because the matters at the JSC are linked to various pending court cases.
But Justice Hedwig Ong’udi declined to grant the orders sought for a second time saying the disciplinary process by the judge’s employer is not final and can be annulled through the courts.
“I find the processes at JSC are not final and can be nullified. It will be prudent to hear all parties in the application before ruling on the conservatory orders sought by the applicant,” Justice Ong’udi said.
Consequently, the hearing of the petitions before JSC will begin today, February 15, as scheduled.
Justice Ong’udi had on December 9 declined to grant Chitembwe’s request on grounds that blocking JSC from considering the petitions would interfere with the commission’s constitutional mandate.
One of the petitions before JSC includes that of former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko who last year leaked multiple videos allegedly linking Chitembwe to bribery at the Judiciary. Sonko claims the judge was bribed to frustrate his bid challenging his impeachment.
Justice Chitembwe told the court last year that the video and audio recordings published by Sonko on his various social media platforms were made without his knowledge and consent.
He also told the court that the dates on the said recordings are unverifiable.
Chitembwe also challenged the authenticity of a video conversation between his alleged brother, Amana Saidi Jirani and an unidentified person on an unknown date.
Further, the judge claimed that the JSC is yet to formulate any procedural regulations for the removal of a judge from office.
“As a result of this there is no uniform format for conducting of proceedings which is against the rules of the natural Justice,“ said the judge.