Appellate judges uphold the suspension of Kiambu magistrate Khaemba
Kiambu Principal Magistrate Bryan Khaemba will remain suspended and on half-pay pending the outcome of disciplinary proceedings initiated against him by Chief Justice David Maraga for alleged gross misconduct.
In a dramatic turn of events, the Court of Appeal Friday stayed the decision made by Employment and Labour Relations judge Byram Ongaya on August 30, quashing Justice Maraga’s suspension letter to Khaemba dated June 13.
The besieged magistrate, who was on sick leave, was sent packing without pay and his transfer to the Thika Law Courts cancelled.
Justice Ongaya had ordered the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to reinstate Khaemba by September 9 and pay him all outstanding salaries and allowances by November 1.
The judge had issued a permanent injunction stopping JSC from terminating Khaemba’s employment contract or taking any disciplinary action against the judicial officer over the Waititu bail order.
Khaemba had granted Sh50,000 anticipatory bail to Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu before his arrest and prosecution over Sh588 million corruption-related charges.
The bone of contention is that Khaemba issued the orders on May 23 while he was on sick leave, blocking the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji from preferring criminal charges against the governor.
Appellate judges Martha Koome, Hannah Okwengu and Sankale ole Kantai ruled Friday that the Chief Justice, the JSC and Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anna Amadi had an arguable appeal on whether Justice Ongaya misinterpreted the judicial disciplinary process.
It was not in the interest of justice to compel the Judiciary’s top organ to reinstate the magistrate before the disciplinary process was concluded, they said.
In his contested decision, Justice Ongaya had ruled that Khaemba, who is the Kenya and East African Judges and Magistrates Associations secretary-general, was victimised for discharging his official duties.
Khaemba’s constitutional rights were violated by the CJ in the exercise of his administrative mandate in line with the JSC Act, he said.