Tribunal calls for Deputy CJ Baraza's ouster for gross misconduct

Suspended Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza. PHOTO / FILE

The tribunal investigating suspended Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza over the Village Market gun drama has recommended her removal from office for "gross misconduct and misbehaviour."

The tribunal's chairman, former Tanzanian Chief Justice Augustino Ramadhani, said Ms Baraza's conduct during the New Year's eve incident showed an "inability to control her behaviour."

Ms Baraza was accused of assaulting a security guard, Ms Rebecca Kerubo, and waving a gun at her at the Village Market shopping mall in Nairobi.

“The tribunal members having unanimously found that the conduct of the DCJ on December 31 2011 at the Village Market amounted to both gross misconduct and misbehaviour we recommend to President Kibaki that Lady Justice Nancy Makhoha Baraza be removed from office,” said the tribunal in its recommendation to the President.

“We were not impressed by the evidence by the DCJ,” read the decision giving an example in which Ms Baraza argued that the guard had followed her to Belladona Pharmacy in the Market and used disrespectful language.

Ms Kerubo denied using harsh language and her denial was backed by a Dr James Wathigo, the pharmacist who said that the guard only told Ms Baraza that she needed to search her.

However, Ms Baraza is said to have responded by saying that Kerubo “should know people around here.”

The tribunal was set up following a petition by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) after Ms Kerubo lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Ms Baraza had threatened to shoot her when she sought to conduct a body search before allowing her into the Village Market where the Deputy CJ had gone shopping.

Personal security

Ms Baraza later apologised for the “unfortunate” incident saying she had no intention of “arrogance or ill will”.

In a statement, she pointed to fears over her personal security and said that the confrontation with Ms Kerubo should be viewed in that light.

“In the last few months a number of security incidents have occurred in and outside my office. As such, threats of violence have been directed at me and I have had to request increased security measures for my office as well as my own personal security,” she said.

“The unfortunate incident at the Village Market should be viewed in light of the genuine security apprehension on my part. I certainly had no intention of high-handedness, arrogance or ill will,” the deputy CJ added.

However, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga summoned an emergency session of the JSC to discuss the incident.

In its meeting, the JSC recommended her suspension and called on President Kibaki to form a tribunal to investigate her conduct.


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