Sacked judge reinstated on appeal

The Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board has reversed its decision to sack High Court judge Joseph Kiplagat Sergon after he successfully proved that the allegation that led to his removal from office was reached irregularly.

Justice Sergon had through his lawyer Cecil Miller appealed to the board to overturn its decision and reinstate him.

The judge had been accused of failing to timely inform one of his clients that judgement had been entered in her favour for Sh550,000 and that he issued cheques which were dishonoured upon presentation on their due dates.

He was also accused in another case that he was influenced through corruption to deliver a ruling against Ali Mbarak Ali and others in a case he was handling.

He was accused that he accompanied one of the parties to the bank in suspicious and questionable circumstances immediately after the delivery of the ruling.

Miller who filed the review application on the judge's behalf said the verdict that there was an advance payment by the board was a serious mistake.

The board agreed with Miller that the judge has established that there were serious errors manifest on the face of the record that led to a finding of unsuitability.

"The board unanimously (with three members recused) finds that the mistakes and/or errors which have been established in respect of both complaints are incurable and therefore sufficiently weighty to justify reviewing and setting aside the determination of unsuitability"

"The board thus sets aside its determination of 21st December, 2012. In terms of Section 23(1) of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution and Sections 13, 18, and 21 of the Vetting of Judges and Magistrates Act No. 2 of 2011, the board determines that the Honourable Justice Joseph Kiplagat Sergon is suitable to continue serving as a judge" read the determination of the Review Panel.

Justice Fredrick Chomba, Abdirashid Abdulahi and Roseline Odede delivered the ruling dated May 30, 2013.

In appealing the board's decision to declare him unsuitable for office, Judge Sergon submitted that the board erred in finding that they he had deliberately failed to call witnesses on his behalf.

"The judge states that severally, he asked the board to summon Mr Hatimy, the person alleged to have bribed him. On November 8 2012," the board noted. "He asked for Hatimy to be summoned and was told "I don't think any useful purpose will be served."