All candidates seeking Kenya’s Chief Justice position are required to fill forms giving their wealth status as well their spouses.
“Under the Judicial Service code of conduct, the wealth declaration form goes beyond the officer it covers their family members. In form 2B paragraph eight that you’re required to fill, why didn’t you file for your spouse?” commissioner Evelyn Olwande asked.
“No, I didn’t submit the forms because I did not get clear instructions on whether to file a declaration form for my spouse,” Mbote retorted.
The CJ hopeful was also questioned over diligence and integrity issues over allegations that she colluded and engaged in underhanded activities in order to frustrate a candidate during the Law Society of Kenya nominations.
“I had no interest in any candidate in the LSK nominations because my work was to help the society,” she stated.
During the interview, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu questioned Mbote for taking ownership of a concept paper by Prof Migai Akech without attribution during her time as dean at the University of Nairobi.
“I did involve Prof Migai and there was going to be an output to that work which was going to be a book co-edited by myself and him but since his name didn’t appear on the concept, he didn’t want to work on it, so we refunded the money,” Mbote stated.
Prof Mbote is among three women shortlisted to become the next Chief Justice. The senior counsel, who was conferred in 2012, has practiced law for 30 years and has been a dean at the School of Law, the University of Nairobi.
The other candidates slated to be interviewed in the coming days include Justice William Ouko, Justice Martha Koome, Justice Njagi Marete, Justice Mathews Nderi, Senior Counsel Fredrick Ngatia, Senior Counsel Philip Murgor, Prof Wekesa Moni and Ms Alice Jepkoech.
High court judge Juma Chitembwe was the first candidate to be interviewed by the panel on Monday, April 12.
During the interview, Chitembwe became emotional as he was questioned over various issues targeting bail rights for accused persons to changes the judge would introduce should he be confirmed as the next Chief Justice.
The judge noted that his intention was to fix the backlog of cases piled up at the Supreme Court.