Reprieve for Justice Marete after tribunal clears him

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020 00:00 |
Justice Njagi Marete.

Bernice Mbugua @BerniceMuhindi

Justice Njagi Marete obtained a reprieve yesterday after a tribunal formed to investigate him cleared him of gross misconduct.

The tribunal led by retired Court of Appeal Judge Alnashir Visram, stated that the sole allegation of gross misconduct was not proved by Marete’s accusers.

“Accordingly the tribunal unanimously recommended that Marete ought not to be removed from the office of the Judge of Employment and Labour Relations Court,” Justice Visram told the press yesterday.

The tribunal was appointed last year July 4 by President Uhuru Kenyatta to investigate the conduct of the judge after a petition was filed against him at the Judicial Service commission.

Kenya Tea Growers Association filed the petition against the judge in a matter involving the Kenya Plantations and Agricultural Workers Union and other parties.

The association accused him of handling a matter involving the parties yet he was aware the case had been handled by another judge.

They claimed that the judge issued orders which had the effect of setting aside the orders of a fellow judge.

In their view, the judge should not have handled the matter as there were other suits pending at a Nairobi court and there were orders that had been issued. The parties argued that his orders were unfair and they continued to suffer due to the judge’s decision.

The tribunal received 18 oral testimonies whereas the judge called out 6 witnesses to defend him. The hearings were conducted for nine days last year.

In his defence the judge argued that the orders related to two different applications.

He said that while he issued orders stopping the employer from issuing letters to the striking workers while sitting in Kericho.

“The determination was made to the best of my ability and in good faith. I transferred the matter to Nairobi,” he said.

It was his argument that he exercised his unfettered judicial authority and discretion in issuing the orders, which are not subject to the control or direction of any person or authority.

The tribunal in its finding established that the judge in issuing orders in the Kericho case, did not violate the law and they did not find any merit in the allegation against the judge.

“The manner in which he handled the Kericho suit was not biased. The ex-parte orders did not contradict the orders  of the case in Nairobi case.

The judge did not contravene the Judicial Code of Conduct,” the tribunal said.

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