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Rocky history between Gachagua & Justice Esther Maina whom the DP wants sacked

DP Gachagua's decision to seek the removal of Justice Esther Maina is the culmination of a rocky history between the deputy president and the judicial officer.

DP Rigathi Gachagua

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua announced his intentions to file an official complaint against Justice Esther Nyambura Maina, seeking her removal.

The petition is scheduled to be presented before the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on January 18, 2024.

"On Thursday, this coming week at 2:15 p.m., I will personally present a petition before Lady Chief Justice Martha Koome against Justice Esther Maina for her removal from the Judiciary for misconduct and corruption," Gachagua said.

His remarks on Sunday, January 14, were the culmination of a rocky history between the deputy president and the judicial officer.

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In 2022, Justice Esther Maina ordered Gachagua to forfeit Sh202 million, terming the funds as proceeds of corruption.

The application had been filed by the Assets and Recovery Agency which at the time was accusing the deputy president of failing to account for the cash held in several bank accounts.

The cash had been frozen in 2020 as the Directorate of Criminal Investigations conducted a probe into his financial dealings.

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Gachagua first expressed his displeasure with the judge on July 28, 2022, and accused Justice Esther Maina of being biased against him from the onset of the case, criticising that she conducted a sham trial.

The judgement today by Justice Esther Maina, in my case against the Asset Recovery Agency, did not come as a surprise to me and my lawyers.

The Judge was biased against us from the word go and threw caution to the wind by conducting a sham trial,” he said.

He stated that she refused our application to cross-examine the investigator in order to test the veracity of his allegations.

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The MP argued that the judge ruled that all evidence should be through affidavits and rejected oral evidence.

“She refused my request to call witnesses to testify on how I got my money. She has made a ruling relying solely on the allegations by the State without giving us an opportunity to put the allegations to test as per the known practice all over the world,” his statement added.

Gachagua claimed that the judgement was hastily rushed ten days before the elections to undermine his candidature in the 2022 General Election.

In November 2022, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions announced that it had dropped the corruption case against the deputy president.

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In February 2023, the deputy president reached a deal with the Assets and Recovery Agency to wire back the forfeited Sh202 million after the case was withdrawn.

The ARA also disowned evidence provided by the DCI which was investigating the sources of the cash and concluded that the money was not proceeds of corruption.

The court of appeal adopted the agreement and ordered the money to be returned to Gachagua.

The process for filing a petition against a judge in Kenya involves submitting a petition to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

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The petition must contain evidence of judicial misconduct or wrongdoing by the judge in question. The JSC is responsible for investigating complaints against judges, judicial officers, and staff.

The JSC shall consider the petition and, if it is satisfied that the petition discloses a ground for removal, send the petition to the President.

The president shall then suspend the judge from office and appoint a tribunal to inquire into the matter expeditiously and make a report.

A judge who is aggrieved by a decision of the tribunal may appeal against the decision within ten days after the tribunal makes its recommendations.

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