High Court Judge Juma Chitembwe has suffered a blow after the Judicial Service Commission declined to dismiss two petitions filed for his removal over gross misconduct.
JSC panel led by Professor Olive Mugenda ruled that the objections by the judge did not raise pure points of law.
The two petitions are filed separately by Francis Wambua, Imgrad Beige and David Leboo Ole Kilusu.
The judge filed an objection to the hearing of the said petitions arguing that they arose from his court decision and they were subject to Appeal at the court of Appeal.
The judge had further objected to the video clips and audio recordings that form the evidence in the petitions being used saying they were inadmissible evidence and amounts to illegally obtained evidence.
The video footage which allegedly shows the judge discussing how to compromise a case were leaked by former Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko.
The JSC panel on Friday stated that the admissibility of the said audio/video recordings will be determined at the hearing of the substantive petition.
“The preliminary objection, therefore, lacks merit and the same is dismissed,” the JSC panel ruled.
The two petitions will now be mentioned on January 28 for pre-hearing.
Sonko in the amateur video shows a man purported to be the judge receiving a bag full of money from a female lawyer for the purpose of defeating justice.
In the expose, a man alleged to be George Kariuki and believed to be the Deputy State House Comptroller, claims to have been sent by “State House” to convince Chitembwe not to stop Sonko’s impeachment.
Following the expose, Francis Wambua filed the petition at JSC claiming the judge was not fit to serve in the public office due to his alleged corrupt dealings.
Wambua accuses Justice Chitembwe of engaging in corrupt deals during the litigation of cases filed by former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko challenging his impeachment at the High Court.
In the other petition filed by Imgrad Beige and David Leboo Ole Kilusu, they accuse the judge of handling a matter which was not in his jurisdiction and transferring the contended property to his brother.
Beige and Kilusu in their petition claimed that Justice Chitembwe, who was then stationed at Malindi High Court, handled a succession case, which was concluded with a judgement on May 16, 2018.
The two who are also directors of Pacific Frontier Seas Limited, which was an objector in the suit, claimed the judge declined to transfer the file to Mombasa High Court that had the geographical and supervisory jurisdiction.
It was also their case that before the judgement was delivered on May 16, 2018, the suit property was transferred and registered in the name of the judge’s brother, Amana Said.