Supreme Court reinstates judge Martin Muya

The Supreme Court of Kenya

It is a relief for High Court Judge Martin Muya after the Supreme Court reinstated him to office.

The embattled judge had been accused of gross misconduct in regards to a matter he handled at the High Court in Bomet.

The Supreme Court set aside the decision by the tribunal that recommended the President to remove him from office.

Supreme court judges Mohammed Ibrahim, Smokin Wanjala, Njoki Ndung’u, Isaac Lenaona and William Ouko declare that justice Muya’s conduct did not amount to gross misconduct in terms of article 168 (1) (e) of the constitution.

“The Tribunal’s recommendation to the President to remove the Petitioner from office under Article 168(7)(b) of the Constitution is likewise set aside,” the judges said.

In addition, the Superior court added that acted in excess of its mandate.

“Though the Tribunal has wide powers in the process of investigating any of the grounds for removal of a judge, it acted in excess of its mandate in specific situations when it considered issues pending determination in the High Court or introducing matters that were not before the Petitioner when he made the decision in question,” the judges ruled.

Justice Muya moved to the Supreme Court seeking to quash the decision of the tribunal appointed to investigate his conduct.

Through lawyer Philip Nyachoti, the judge denied the allegations against him.

The tribunal which was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta recommended that the judge be removed from office.

The complaints

Judge Muya was accused of gross misconduct arising from a petition he handled at the High Court in Bomet in 2017.

Two complaints were lodged against him before the Judicial Service Commission. The first complaint was raised by Onyikwa and Company Advocates on behalf of their client, NIC Bank Limited in respect to the manner the judge handled the matter of Alfred Kipkorir Mutai and Kipsigis Stores Limited Vs NIC BANK.

The second complaint was filed by the firm of Mukite Musangi & Company Advocates on behalf of their client, Kenya Commercial Bank which arose from the matter of Alfred Kipkorir Mutai & Kipsigis Stores Vs KCB Bank Limited.

In both complaints, the judge was accused of taking “more than” five months to give reasons for the ruling delivered on 30th May 2017.

It was also alleged that by directing the said ruling that the status quo be maintained, the judge occasioned great financial loss to NIC Bank in the sum of Sh 76,159,411.

However, the Supreme Court ruled that there was no proof that the Bank suffered loss or prejudice as a result of Justice Muya’s decision.