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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 October, 2003, 19:06 GMT 20:06 UK
Calls to sack Kenya judges
Noel Mwakugu
BBC, Nairobi, Kenya

President Mwai Kibaki
Kenyans are awaiting President Kibaki's final word on 'corrupt' judges
Kenyan lawyers have called on the government to take firm action following the release of a report that says more than half of the country's judges are corrupt.

The lawyers asked the government to sack the judges and reconstitute the judiciary.

The report - released on Tuesday - was compiled by a probe committee set up by the Chief Justice, Evans Gicheru.

The committee said it had evidence of crimes, including a video tape showing a judge receiving a bribe.

Ripples

The report has caused ripples within the judicial system and is viewed as the Kenyan Government's litmus test over its commitment to stamp out corruption.

The chairman of the law society of Kenya, Abdillahi Nassir, wants the corrupt judicial officers immediately sidelined.

"A judge who has been implicated in a corrupt deal cannot continue to seat, even for day, and should not be given any judicial duties... from Monday next week the judges should not be allowed to adjudicate over any case," said Mr Nassir

Mr Nassir said in order to assist in speeding up the process the law society of Kenya has already set up two committees to compile lists of Kenyan lawyers of integrity who will either serve in tribunals to try the judges, or to replace them.

He said the lists would be ready by Monday to avert chaos in the judicial system.

'Credible evidence'

According to the chairman of the probe committee, Justice Aaron Ringera, the report cuts across the entire judiciary.

"There was credible and substantial evidence of corruption, unethical conduct and other forms of misbehaviour against 152 officers," said Mr Ringera.

The law society of Kenya insists that Chief Justice Evans Gicheru must in a matter of days advise President Mwai Kibaki to act on the revelations by setting up the tribunals to recommend the action to be taken against the judges - a task the chief justice says he will face boldly.

"This is a battle we have to undertake and fight without looking backwards... I and my staff are prepared to confront this beast and wrestle it to the ground," said Mr Gicheru.

And to protect the legal fraternity against the vice, the law society's council announced new disciplinary measures.

"The law society of Kenya has decided that any judge or magistrate who is implicated in a corrupt deal and removed from the judiciary will not be allowed to practice law in this country for five years after his removal," said Mr Nassir

Kenyans are now awaiting President Kibaki's final word.




SEE ALSO:
Half of Kenya's judges 'corrupt'
30 Sep 03  |  Africa
World Bank pledges Kenya aid
23 Jul 03  |  Business
Rising hope for aid to Kenya
10 Jul 03  |  Business
Kenya to greet IMF boss
03 Jul 03  |  Business
Kenya targets corrupt officials
17 Apr 03  |  Business
Kenya's strides in corruption fight
28 Feb 03  |  Business


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