We can no longer sugarcoat it and we can no longer say we have a judiciary that is mentally sound. Sheer disappointment, malice, injustice and frustration is the quest Kenyans must endure for justice. A quest that is never guaranteed and neither has a time limit.
It is no surprise that no corruption case has been concluded. Even when it comes to issues concerning the whole country, the judiciary is unperturbed, sleeping at its job and only alert with the mention of money and positions.
Zero vetting, zero war on graft and no transparency; the judiciary wants to give appointments on their own terms without any external contributions as it is now with the nomination of the 41 judges by the JSC. With that, Kenyans have witnessed court orders issued at break-neck speeds and now, in the process of appointing 41 nominated judges without the President’s assent – judges of whom a red flag has been issued against them for allegations bordering on corruption and abuse of office hanging on their necks.
Let us not run away from the truth because it always comes out eventually. Just last week the nation was entertained to a series of intimate text messages between murder suspect Sarah Wairimu and Court of Appeal judge, Justice Sankale Ole Kantai who was arrested in relation to the murder of Tob Cohen. Reports indicated that the said judge aided the suspect Sarah Wairimu and would be charged as the third person in the killing of the Dutch businessman. The said judge also helped the suspect with her statement to the police about her husband’s disappearance before he was later found dead.
Not so long ago, a young magistrate took matters into her own hands. Driven by greed and revenge, Nyeri Senior Principal Magistrate Pauline Omung’ala Chesang was arrested over the killing of her lawyer husband, Robert Chesang. The magistrate was accused of shooting Chesang in cold blood at their matrimonial home and was arrested alongside Richard Lorunyei Moru, Laurence Lempesi, and Peter Muendo Mbithi.
Interestingly, this case has gone silent. The last that was heard was a bond issued by Judge George Odunga whose repute is also questionable and is among the 41 judges over which a red alert had been issued on issues bordering corruption.
In this case, the suspects were released on a one million shillings bond or a cash bail of Sh.500,000 with the judge disallowing an application by the deceased lawyer’s family to have the case moved to another court on the basis that the court would be prejudiced. It is alleged that Nyeri Senior Principal Magistrate (SPM), Pauline Maisy Omung’ala Chesang is related to the presiding Judge. The family of the slain lawyer, may never get to see justice in that case.
A few kilometers down the Coast is Mombasa Principal Magistrate Edgar Kagoni who was arrested for the loss of a Sh30 million heroin exhibit which was confiscated in an operation against drugs. It is unknown whether the exhibit has sufficed. The charges involved obstruction with intent to defeat justice, while aiding and abetting trafficking in narcotic drugs.
Interestingly, these judges are never alone in their scheming as the magistrate was arrested with three other court officials who work under him. The court clerk was also not spared as earlier on, Florence Dianga was arrested for faking surety documents used to bail out Mombasa businessman Mohammed Ali Noor. Likewise, she was arrested alongside three other court officials. Indeed, it is a corrupt system in and out.
Judges have continually been colluding with drug cartels and protecting them. Mombasa Judge Dora Chepkwony is one such judge, who altered orders for the slain drug baron Ibrahim Akasha from Sh30 million to Sh5 million, thereby relaxing their bond terms.
The same judge with two others Justice Martin Muya and another unmentioned judged were working round the clock to extradite the Akasha brothers but their cause eventually failed as justice prevailed, although in a US Court. It is also important that Kenyans know that Justice Dorah Chepkwony released five high profile convicts in less than two months who were terror suspects.
At the helm of power and still in public office, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu proudly seats in her office going on with her business, totally unmoved over her corruption allegations. The judge who is second in command to Chief Justice David Maraga was arrested back in August 2018 at the Supreme Court.
This judge whose case was thrown out of court under the basis of a ‘wrong process in acquiring evidence’, was charged with numerous counts of stealing, abuse of office and unlawful failure to pay taxes. She had accepted a personal loan of Sh12 million from the collapsed Imperial Bank where Kenyans have lost their hard-earned livelihoods.
In a span of less than two years her case was concluded with even one of the rulings taking less than an hour. Despite facing 13 counts, offences committed between 2013 and 2016, none went through. The same courts stopped her prosecution and eventually set her free.
These are just some of the publicly known corruption scandals involving judges. Many have gone unreported as the Chief Justice himself has proven by word and deed that he is uninterested in the war on graft.
Haven’t Kenyans witnessed the numerous acquittals? Haven’t Kenyans witnessed the lenient bail terms given to criminals like Babu Owino? The latter was issued by Justice Francis Andayi who later recused himself. It is a rogue system that has progressively revealed itself and has just been gathering steam as it awaits a new Chief Justice who will continue to cover their corrupt tracks.
Chief Justice Maraga is a tired man seeing that the government cannot issue him with the billions he was demanding, hence seeking solace at a top UN job where he can further fatten his pockets.
For the Judiciary it’s a system of dog-eat-dog!