BY NT CORRESPONDENT.
Disgraced High Court Judge Martin Muya has been allowed 30 days to prepare his appeal challenging his sacking early this year for alleged gross misconduct.
Lawyers Fred Ngatia and Philip Nyachoti successfully applied for more time to submit their legal arguments to the Supreme Court and serve the documents on the Attorney General.
The chief government legal advisor is representing the seven-member judicial tribunal, chaired by retired Appellate Judge Alnashir Visram, which found Justice Muya guilty of flouting the judicial code of conduct on March 17.
Supreme Court Deputy Registrar, Daniel Ole Keiwua directed that the matter be mentioned on November 20 to confirm compliance. The file will then be presented to Chief Justice David Maraga to give directions on the hearing date.
The recommendations by the Visram team were presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 20 at State House in Nairobi, effectively ending the career of the long-serving judicial officer. Justice Muya was a magistrate before his appointment to the bench.
The tribunal concluded that Justice Muya was guilty of gross misconduct by his delay in delivering reasons for his ruling dated May 30, 2017 in a commercial dispute while sitting in Bomet. But the Judge had justified his professional handling of the civil suit, in which his decision has never been challenged in the Court of Appeal.
The complaints against Justice Muya were first investigated by a JSC committee chaired by Prof Olive Mugenda. The other members were Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Emily Ominde and Patrick Gichohi.
The Judge said the JSC exceeded its jurisdiction by delving into the merits of a commercial dispute and usurping the appellate jurisdiction contrary to the law. “The commission arrived at an illogical, irrational, unreasonable and erroneous conclusion,” he protested in court papers.
Nyachoti said the complaint against Justice Muya was, who was based in Bomet, was lodged by the law firm of Onyinkwa and Company Advocates on behalf of NIC Bank on August 17, 2017. The firm had written to the Chief Justice and resulted in the disciplinary process.
NIC bank lodged that complaint against Justice Muya in a 2016 commercial dispute between it and Alfred Kipkorir Mutai and Kipsigis Stores Ltd. The Judge after numerous adjournments granted an injunction against the bank and reserved the reasons for five months.
In its report to the President, the JSC observed that the defunct bank suffered financial loss despite its pleas to the Judge that the vehicles offered as security for the disputed loan had already been sold by the defaulting borrowers.
The commission had concluded that the petition against the Judge had disclosed “open bias, abuse of office, incompetence and gross misconduct.”
The tribunal, which conducted its proceedings at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, comprised Justice Visram, retired High Court Judge Festus Azangalala, Senior counsel Lucy Kambuni, lawyers Ambrose Weda and Andrew Bahati Mwamuye and members Sylvia Wanjiku Muchiri and Amina Abdalla.The lead Assisting Counsel was Paul Nyamodi, assisted by Senior State Attorney Stella Munyi. The Joint Secretaries were Peter Kariuki and Josiah Musili