RAO IN ROW WITH HIGH COURT JUDGE WHO RESIGNED.

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Lawyer Rodgers Sagana for Justice Nicholas Ombija who has protested the decision by the magistrates and judges vetting board to declare him unfit to serve in the judiciary even after he informed it that he will retire voluntarily speaking to court reporters at his lawyers of office in Nairobi on Thursday March 17,2016.
BY SAM ALFAN.
Justice Nicholas Ombija has reacted angrily to a decision by the Judges and magistrates vetting board declaring him unfit to serve in the judiciary.

He has resigned voluntarily.

He has termed the verdict malicious and said he will sue the members of the board.
Mr Ombija, who recently opted to resign instead of being vetted again, says he will file two suits — one against the board’s chairman, Mr Sharad Rao, and Mr Abdirashid Abdulahi, who signed the board’s determination against him, and the other against the entire vetting panel.

Ombija on Thursday claimed the letter sent to him by the board is not dated and was signed by only 2 members of the commission out of 9.

“Complains are supposed to come from the public and then the board will call me as a judge and discuss, but nobody from the public has made a complaint over my conduct and that is why I decided to just quit,” he said.

“What I do not understand is why the board waited for me to make a decision to quit so that they smear my name instead of letting me retire without issues,” he added.

Ombija said since he ordered the government to arrest President Omar Al-bashir of Sudan, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges, should he ever return to Kenya, some quarters in the government has been fighting toremove him from the judiciary.

The ruling prompted Sudan to order the expulsion of Kenya’s ambassador and summon its own envoy from Nairobi.

Kenya was heavily criticized by the International Criminal Court and foreign governments for failing to arrest Mr. Bashir when he attended a ceremony in Kenya last year.

The further protested the conducts of Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board Chairman Sharad Rao claiming he is misusing public money to deliver dishonest verdicts.

He said the board decision was signed by two members out of nine members which is unconstitutional. The decision didn’t have a date according to the learned judge.

The Board, for the second time, found Ombija unsuitable to continue serving as a judge on the grounds that he did not “effectively refute” complaints lodged against him prior to promulgation of the Constitution.

Board Chairman Sharad Rao said they had taken the decision to reject Ombija’s notice of early retirement on two grounds: one, they declared his letter of retirement invalid and two, they held that the option was simply no longer available to him.

“The option to retire for a judge who did not wish to be vetted was available only for three months from the commencement of the (JMVB) Act (May 19, 2011),” Board Chairman Sharad Rao said at a press briefing.
As for the letter, he said it was invalid as it was addressed to him and not to Ombija’s employer, the Judicial Service Commission.

“The proper procedure in the event of seeking early retirement is to notify his employer the Judicial Service Commission and not the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board,” Rao said.

Ombija was first found unsuitable to continue serving as a judge in 2012 but he applied for a review on the grounds that there was apparent bias on the part of the vetting board.

The JMVB agreed to re-vet him but Ombija challenged their authority to do so in the High Court which dismissed his petition.

He appealed the dismissal and the Court of Appeal found in his favour; declaring him suitable to continue to serve in December last year.


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