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Babu Owino freed from Industrial area remand prison after depositing Sh2.5 million bail

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By JUDITH GICOBI

Paul Ongili, Embakasi East MP, alias Babu Owino, was released on Tuesday evening from Industrial Area Remand Prison after the court accorded him a cash bail of Sh10 million.

The MP is facing charges for shooting and wounding Felix Orinda, alias DJ Evolve. He was released from the remand prison after paying a deposit of Sh2.5 million as an installment of his cash bail.

Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi on Monday granted Babu Owino a KSh10 million cash bail, which he was to pay in four installments in the next four months.

According to the magistrate, the money will be used to cover the victim’s hospital bill, and the rest will be the bail amount. Owino has been banned from taking any narcotics or alcohol in a public setting. 

Babu Owino, on 17th January, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder charges and behaving disorderly. He was detained for seven days before Monday’s bail ruling.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Babu Owino warned not to drink in public as he is released on Sh10m cash bail
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CJ Maraga tells off Speaker Muturi over BBI Proposals

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Chief Justice David Maraga has hit out at National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) over proposals they made to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) task force on the structure and operations of the Judiciary and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

Justice Maraga said the two, together with Mr Ngatia Wambugu of Africa Institute for Peace and Human Rights, made proposals that are dangerous, retrogressive, likely to mark the end of judicial independence in Kenya and undermine the rule of law.

He said that some of the proposals made to the BBI task force are aimed at giving the president an upper hand in determining who becomes a judge and water down JSC’s mandate of determining those who are suitable for appointment as judges.

The CJ insisted the suggestions tabled before the Senator Yusuf Haji-led BBI team are part of a struggle to control the third arm of government.

In an 11-page statement, the CJ rejected a proposal that the removal of a Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice from office should be done by parliamentary acclamation and not by a tribunal.

REMOVAL OF JUDGES

Speaker Muturi had proposed that the National Assembly should be involved in the sacking of a Supreme Court judge.

Mr Muturi had also proposed that whenever the JSC is satisfied that there exists sufficient grounds for the removal of a Supreme Court judge, the commission should submit the decision to the National Assembly.

The MPs, according to the Speaker, would within 30 days examine and determine whether the allegations against the judge have been substantiated.

Where the National Assembly affirms, by a decision supported by majority of MPs that the allegations have been substantiated, then the judge ceases to hold office.

On the appointment of judges, Mr Muturi proposed that when a vacancy occurs at the High Court and Court of Appeal, the JSC should forward to the president a basket of names three times the number of vacancies, for the president to choose.

READ ALSO:   Mysterious banners rebuking Kenya's Judiciary crop up along Nairobi roads

But Justice Maraga said sending three times the number of names to fill a position means the JSC would forward to the president names of people who are not qualified for the job.

“The JSC would even in cases where it is not satisfied that certain applicants have not met the legal and constitutional threshold still be compelled to submit their names to the president, who might end up appointing those who did not satisfy the JSC,” said Mr Maraga.

BIAS

The CJ also said that according to the Speaker’s suggestions, the president would become the nominating and appointive authority, contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers.

“Opening a window for the president, even in a small way, to decide which nominees to appoint and which ones to reject would be a relapse to the old system, which was overwhelmingly discarded by Kenyans in a plebiscite. It would open the window for the reintroduction of manipulation and horse-trading in the appointment of judges,” explained Justice Maraga.

But he was quick to add that this is not to say the president has no role on judges’ appointment, pointing out that four JSC members are the president’s appointees.

On its part, the LSK had called for a review of JSC, given the occurrence of petitions against sitting judges who are also members of the commission that is expected to investigate them.

The LSK proposed that a peer-review mechanism should be established in order to protect integrity of the JSC.

The LSK argues that judges and magistrates who sit in JSC are predisposed to defend their own.

A case in point is a pending petition filed by the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Director of Criminal Investigations before the JSC for the removal of Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu.

There are other multiple petitions against various judges and magistrates, including one on CJ Maraga by activist Okiya Omtatah over alleged misconduct.

READ ALSO:   State withdraws four MPs' bodyguards over crime allegations

FIDELITY TO THE LAW

According to the LSK, judges and magistrates also shield and safeguard appointments and promotions for their exclusive benefit within the Judiciary and to the exclusion of ‘outsiders’.

CJ Maraga responded that the LSK’s contentions are premised on non-factual and biased positions that ignore the importance and relevance of the current constitutional architecture.

“The issues confronting the courts are better understood by men and women who have taken the judicial oath to defend the Constitution and whose everyday role is to do so,” said Justice Maraga.

In fact, the Judiciary is not adequately represented in JSC because the Environment and Lands Court together with the Employment and Labour Relations Court have no representation, Mr Maraga said.

He noted that the representation of the Judiciary in JSC accounts for 45 per cent, compared to the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), whose composition is 85 per cent MPs and parliamentary staff.

Mr Maraga further dismissed the idea that judicial officers and judges at the JSC have protected their own.

In its first 10 years of existence, the JSC has recommended the formation of tribunals to remove six judges of superior courts, has dismissed and disciplined the chief registrar of the Judiciary and seven directors.

MANDATE

Mr Maraga added that the commission has processed 496 disciplinary cases, appeals and reviews against judicial officers and staff, including magistrates.

“This record belies the manufactured perception that the JSC serves to protect members of the Judiciary and cushion them from disciplinary actions. Evidence further belies the carefully manufactured perception that JSC cushions existing members of the Judiciary from competition from outsiders on appointments to higher offices, especially those of judgeship,” stated Mr Maraga.

He explained that the JSC has recommended the appointment of 149 judges of the superior courts and only 43 of them have come from within the Judiciary.

READ ALSO:   DJ Evolve: Meet man ‘accidentally shot’ by Babu Owino

Mr Maraga hit out against Speaker Muturi further for suggesting that courts should be stopped from handling cases on acts of commission or omission by the president and that the same be determined by the National Assembly.

Speaker Muturi had also suggested that questions of the constitutionality of an Act of Parliament should only be decided by the Supreme Court.

He had also said courts should not exercise supervisory jurisdiction over decisions of Parliament or county assemblies to remove from office by impeachment any public officer on whom the Constitution or the law provides for such removal.

The proposal was in light of multiple injunction orders issued in favour of governors, county speakers and county executives once impeached by MCAs.

KEY PROCEDURE

But the Chief Justice opposed the suggestion, describing it as dangerous.

“Article 165(6) of the Constitution only vests the High Court limited authority to supervise the exercise of Parliament’s oversight function (not legislative authority) to ensure that Parliament observes due process in the disciplining or removal of public officers,” said Justice Maraga.

On the suggestion that challenges on the constitutionality of the Acts of Parliament should be left to the Supreme Court, the CJ said it is impracticable and unwise.

This is because there is need for the issues to be properly ventilated and developed from the High Court through the Court of Appeal before the Supreme Court has a say on the issues.

“Kenyans need to seriously reflect on the pressure and preponderance of the other arms of government over the Judiciary. It is clear to any keen observer that the subscript of these proposals is to control the Judiciary,” said the CJ.

He added: “Kenyans should further ask: what is the motivation or interest behind the struggle to control the Judiciary?”

-Nation.co.ke

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Kenya’s Chief Justice David Maraga faces removal from office

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A rights activist has asked the Judicial Service Commission to remove Chief Justice David Maraga from office for alleged gross misconduct.

Mr Okiya Omtatah, who filed the petition on Wednesday, is unhappy with Justice Maraga’s intervention in a case he had filed over the filling of a vacancy in the office of the auditor-general.

He accuses the Supreme Court president of stopping a High Court judge from delivering a ruling in a case challenging the process of hiring a replacement for Mr Edward Ouko who retired.

Mr Omtatah claims that Justice Maraga illegally called for a file and indefinitely suspended delivery on a ruling that Justice Stephen Radido was meant to deliver.

Justice Maraga is yet to respond to the petition filed with the judiciary employer, where the Chief Justice also sits.

THE ALLEGATIONS

In his case at the High Court, Mr Omtatah has challenged the government’s decision to re-advertise the auditor-general’s job following Mr Ouko’s exit last year.

Justice Radido was expected to deliver a ruling on February 26 but Mr Omtatah now claims that the Chief Justice hijacked the file, stopping the case from proceeding.

The activist’s JSC petition accuses Justice Maraga of interfering with the High Court’s independence, something that could pose difficult questions for Kenya’s justice system.

READ ALSO:   Babu Owino makes good his pledge to help watchman who dropped out of university

The JSC received the petition on March 4 but is yet to confirm the hearing dates.

Mr Omtatah wants the JSC to “be pleased to initiate the necessary procedures for inquiry into the conduct and subsequent removal of Chief Justice David Kenani Maraga for breach of oath of office and gross misconduct and/or misbehaviour incompatible with the Status of Judge of the Supreme Court of Kenya”.

He adds: “The actions of the learned Chief Justice constitute a subverment and defilement of the Constitution, a threat to the rule of law and constitutional order, and is a breach of the oath of office the learned Chief Justice took to protect, administer and defend the Constitution with a view to upholding the dignity and respect of the Judiciary and the judicial system of Kenya.”

CRUCIAL OFFICE

The process of finding Mr Ouko’s successor has stalled since last year, partly owing to the petition Mr Omtatah filed.

Under Kenya’s law, this individual should have been appointed by December 2019.

The Constitution does not provide for deputisation of the auditor-general, hence a huge gap in one of Kenya’s most crucial offices charged with overseeing the use of public funds.

The stalled succession also leaves Kenyans exposed as no other officer in the auditor-general’s office is allowed to sign off audit reports on government institutions.

READ ALSO:   State withdraws four MPs' bodyguards over crime allegations

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Kenei: It was cold-blooded murder which was meticulously stage-managed, says DCI Kinoti

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Echesa was at Ruto’s office for over an hour, not 23 mins – Kinoti

Fresh details have emerged in the investigation into what Kenya’s top detective George Kinoti has termed the “cold-blooded murder” of Deputy President William Ruto’s guard Kipyegon Kenei.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) on Thursday gave a blow-by-blow account of what transpired during Kenei’s last moments at the Harambee House Annex, Mr Ruto’s office.

The details revolved around the secret meeting that former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa and his guests held at the DP’s office in a fake Sh40 billion military equipment deal.

The detectives also gave a timeline of events that led to the silencing of the man whose statement was key to the probe that involved American firm, Eco Advanced Technologies, LLC.

Here are some of the details that Mr Kinoti and his team at the DCI headquarters revealed:

  • Mr Echesa and his guests spent one hour, 22 minutes and 59 seconds at Harambee House Annex.

    In a Twitter post on February 20, DP Ruto said they were there for 23 minutes only and demanded that investigators look into the “months” the alleged scammers spent plotting the deal.

    He asked Mr Kinoti and his team to name the other government officers whom Mr Echesa, the fake general, and his team visited.

  • Sergeant Kenei was murdered in his house at Imara Daima estate but the killers tampered with the scene to make it appear that he committed suicide.

    Kenei was found dead on February 20.

    A post mortem revealed that he died a day or two before his body was found and that the cause of death was a gunshot to the head.

  • The manner in which Kenei’s body lay on the floor of his table room was inconsistent with suicide.

    Mr Kinoti said Kenei was found without shoes and in his pyjamas, but that his bed was neat, a circumstance he said was unusual.

  • The murder was planned for a long time.

  • Kenei was killed while planning to record a statement on the fake arms deal.

    The DCI boss said he had contacted a close friend seeking advise on how to record a statement.

  • CCTV footage released by Harambee Annex staff was edited to conceal Kenei’s role in the fake arms deal.

READ ALSO:   Babu the sponsor

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