The Meru High Court judge who ordered Acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu to step aside as Deputy Chief Justice, pending the determination of a case, is facing 2 disciplinary cases.
High Court Judge Patrick Otieno had on Friday, January 29, barred Justice Philomena Mwilu from sitting as a Supreme Court judge which consequently resulted in Mwilu's stint as Acting CJ being cut short.
The law requires any judge occupying the office of the Chief Justice to be a member of the Supreme Court.Former Chief Justice David Maraga (right) hands over documents to acting Chief Justice DCJ Philomena Mwilu (left) at a ceremony held at the Supreme Court on Monday, January 11, 2021
Reports indicated that two cases filed before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) against Otieno, sought the removal of the Judge from office.
The first case was filed by a real estate company Ganjoni properties which claimed that the judge issued two contradictory orders in a case pitting the company against Al Riaz International Ltd over rent payment.
Mwilu is part of the committee that was presiding over the case filed by Ganjoni properties which is still pending before the JSC.
The second petition was filed by the Bank of Africa. In its petition, the judge was accused of being biased by giving ex parte orders (orders given by a judge in the presence of one party) and they faulted the judge for allegedly defying the ruling by the Court of Appeal which had dismissed the case.
The Bank of Africa claims Otieno gave a ruling in which the judge prevented the bank from selling properties charged as security for loans.
The financier claimed that it incurred losses as a result of the ruling.
Calls for disciplinary actions to be taken against Otieno have been rampant following his decision against Mwilu.
This has seen lawyers castigate the ruling terming it a coup against the constitution.
"The order made by Justice Otieno restraining DCJ and AG CJ Mwilu from serving is a nullity ab initio (of no consequence). For good order though, it should be set aside, Otieno removed from office and the Petitioner Advocate and his Advocate disbarred," Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi stated.
His sentiments were backed up by other lawyers and politicians who termed the order reckless.
"The rule of law is broken and judicial anarchy sets in when judicial processes are used and abused to achieve unlawful outcomes or brazen political objectives. The orders obtained ex parte against CJ Mwilu(Ag) is an egregious act of judicial terror and oppression," Siaya Senator James Orengo stated.Siaya senator and lawyer James Orengo during an interview at his office in Nairobi on May 19, 2016..jpg
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