Law Society of Kenya has accused the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of gross misconduct claiming interviews for the Chief Justice position were a sham.
In a letter to the Commission, LSK says the circumstances surrounding the hasty announcement of the nominee for the position raises fundamental concerns on the independence of the Commission.
“The announcement by JSC was made within hours of delivery of an unconventional ruling by the Court of Appeal to stay the orders of the High Court which had barred the Commission from deliberating the outcome of interviews for Chief Justice and undertaking interviews for the Judge of the Supreme Court,” LSK President Nelson Havi argues.
According to Havi, High Court had issued the orders to pave way for the hearing and determination of four cases challenging the recruitment process.
The four cases which were consolidated and slated for hearing on May 3 challenged the suitability of Prof Olive Mugenda to serve as a Commissioner yet she is also the Chairperson of Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital.
The petitioners also questioned the competence of Patrick Gichohi who has since retired from the Public Service Commission (PSC).
The petitions claim it’s illegal for Mugenda to hold two state jobs and that Gichohi cannot continue representing PSC yet he is a retiree.
“The decision of the Court of Appeal and the announcement by the JSC were coordinated and choreographed. It’s apparent that the Court of Appeal has shielded JSC from compliance with constitutional requirements of accountability and transparency in the recruitment of Judges.”
LSK maintains that the fundamental issued pending at the High Court have been defeated unconstitutionally and challenges the JSC to come out clean on the process of recruitment.
Either, the Society accuses some Commissioners of deliberately colluding to skew the scores in favour of a certain candidate.
This after one of the candidates for the position accused some commissioners of altering his scores.
“The allegations of interference in the decision of four Commissioners are grave. With these developments, there is no guarantee that JSC will facilitate the independence and accountability of the Judiciary and the effective, efficient administration of justice.”