A magistrate who recently gave Governor Ferdinand Waititu anticipatory bail orders has been suspended for gross misconduct.
Chief Justice David Maraga suspended Kiambu Principal Magistrate Brian Khaemba on Thursday following recommendations by the Judiciary Ombudsman.
“Mr Khaemba conducted himself in a manner likely to suggest that he has personal interest in the matter.
“It was public knowledge that Mr Khaemba was on sick leave as the same was announced to litigants during the morning briefing,” a letter by Mr Maraga to Mr Khaemba reads.
The magistrate issued a Sh500,000 anticipatory bail to Governor Waititu on May 23, a move that drew widespread criticism as it was viewed as efforts to derail the war on corruption.
The Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission has accused Mr Waititu of involvement in the irregular award of tenders valued at Sh588 million, fraudulent acquisition of public funds, conflict of interest and money laundering.
The governor, members of his family and a number of county officials have recorded statements as part of the investigations.
The inquiry by the Judiciary Ombudsman found the magistrate guilty of engaging in acts that “amount to gross misconduct” after acting contrary to the Human Resource Policies and Procedures Manual and being in breach of the Judicial Service Code of Conduct and Ethics.
The letter, dated June 13, states that disciplinary action should be taken against the judge for irregularly handing an anticipatory bail to Mr Waititu who had been arrested by EACC officers as part of investigations into misuse of hundreds of millions of shillings.
Mr Khaemba is expected to file his response within 14 days failure to which disciplinary action will be instituted without any reference being made to him.
“While on suspension, you shall receive nil salary. Your transfer to Thika Law Courts is hereby cancelled.
“You are therefore required to report to the Chief Magistrate, Kiambu Law Courts, every Friday,” CJ Maraga states.
The magistrate was also ordered to hand over all government property in his possession to the Chief Magistrate, Kiambu Law Courts.
“…You were required to explain why in the morning of May 23, whereas you had reported to be unwell and allowed to be away from duty thus necessitating the adjournment of all matters listed before you on that day, you went to court and handled only one matter that had not been allocated to or listed before you,” the letter reads.
Mr Maraga’s decision came after EACC chief executive Twalib Mbarak filed a complaint against the magistrate at the Judicial Service Commission asking that he be investigated.