Mwilu Suspends Magistrate Day After Taking Office

Acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu and outgoing Chief Justice David Maraga at the Supreme Court on January 11, 2021.
  • Acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu has suspended a Senior Principal Magistrate a day after she succeeded former CJ David Maraga.

    In a letter dated January 13, 2021, CJ Mwilu suspended Kiambu Senior Principal Magistrate Theresa Nyangena over accusations of gross misconduct and neglect of office.

    Mwilu barred the magistrate from accessing office pending the hearing and determination of the disciplinary case levelled against her.

    Acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu and outgoing Chief Justice David Maraga at the Supreme Court on January 11, 2021.

    The decision by Mwilu was reportedly prompted by numerous complaints by lawyers regarding the delay of cases assigned to Justice Nyangena, along with the conduct of her work.

    For instance, she is accused of postponing four times the ruling in a case involving Thika based businessman Victor Maina ,his lawyer Muriuki Ngunjiri and former Gatundu North Member of Parliament Patrick Muiruri.

    Cases of gross misconduct against Justice Nyangena date back to 2019, when Senior State Counsel Catherine Mwaniki accused her of bias in May 2019 in the murder trial of city lawyer Assa Nyakundi.

    In the dismissal letter, CJ Mwilu referred to a report by the Registrar Magistrates Court on October 16, 2020, with complaints on Nyangena’s court attendance and performance record.

    “It has been reported that you have neglected your work as a judicial officer and decided as and when to report to duty. Your conduct has adversely affected service delivery at the station since your court no longer has a course list or special duties allocated to it,†Mwilu wrote.

    She also pointed out an incident brought to her attention by the head of Kiambu law courts where Nyangena is said to have been away from work without official leave on August 26, 2020.

    Mwilu gave Nyangena 14 days to respond to the letter after which the disciplinary committee will proceed with determining her case. The acting CJ warned that her actions could lead to dismissal to the service if found guilty.

    Mwilu took over from CJ Maraga on January 12 and will execute the office of CJ until another is appointed.

    In his parting speech, Maraga urged members of the public and leaders alike to have respect for the law and offer support to Mwilu as she dispenses her duties.

    “I trust you will give the same support to the acting Chief Justice until my predecessor is appointed. Without the rule of law, no one will be safe in this country,” Maraga urged.

    File image of the Kiambu Law Courts.
    File image of the Kiambu Law Courts.

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