Kiambu Principal Magistrate, Brian Khaemba, has resigned. Khaemba resigned after Chief Justice, David Maraga, suspended him for granting Kiambu Governor, Ferdinand Waititu, anticipatory bail while on sick leave.
In late May, the magistrate controversially awarded the embattled Governor, together with his county finance chief, Faith Njeri, 500,000 shillings cash bail.
Following the advice of the Judiciary ombudsman, Maraga suspended Khaemba over gross misconduct without pay.
He is said to have breached Rules 3 and 12 of the Judicial Service Code of Conduct and Ethics and a gross misconduct contrary to the Human Resource Policies and Procedures Manual Section D7.2 (XVII) .
In a letter addressed to magistrate on Thursday, CJ Maraga directed Khaemba to file a response within fourteen days pending which he will remain suspended until his disciplinary case is heard and determined.
“You were required to explain why in the morning of May 23, whereas you had reported to be unwell and allowed to be away from duty thus necessitating the adjournment of all matters listed before you on that day, you went to court and handled only one matter MISC. CR APP. No 222 of 2019 that had not been allocated to or listed before you,” Said the the CJ.
The suspension follows a recommendation by the Judiciary Ombudsman which said the magistrate conducted himself in a manner likely to suggest that he has a personal interest in the matter.
“The explanation you gave dated June 6 is unsatisfactory as you had no authority to handle the matter the same having not been allocated to you. In any case, you had no jurisdiction to entertain the matter,” CJ added.
Judiciary regulations require anticipatory bail matters to handled by the High Court.
“In view of the above, you are hereby required to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against you for the offence”. While on suspension, you shall receive nil salary. Your transfer to Thika Law Courts is hereby cancelled and you are required to report to the Chief Magistrate, Kiambu Law Courts every last Friday of each Month.”Read the letter.
The CJ told Khaemba he will be required to hand over all government stores in his custody and prepare a detailed hand over report to the Chief Magistrate Kiambu Law Courts copying the same to the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary.
The EACC CEO Twalib Mbarak had written a complaint about Khaemba to the judicial Service Commission on the 29th of May this year.
” The Commission received credible information that the said Brian Khaemba was on sick off on that day, 23rd May 2019, that he only appeared at the Law Courts to hear the application and thereafter left the station to proceed with his sick off. The fact of the Hon Magistrate having to break his sick off, if indeed true, to come and attend to a specific matter, when there were other judicial officers who would have handled the matter may be an indicator that the Hon Magistrate had an interest. This is therefore to request you to investigate the conduct of the said magistrate as it is suspected that he may have had an interest in the matter.” Said the complaint.
Governor Waititu was given a 500,000 shillings anticipatory bail in the case where Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has accused him of involvement in the irregular award of tenders valued at 588 million shillings, fraudulent acquisition of public funds, conflict of interest and money laundering.