Kenya: Fr Kaiser enquiry put off

(There is a glitch in the archive headlines on ICN. The dates for this story would be 2003)

The public inquest into the death of Mill Hill Missionary priest Fr John Anthony Kaiser has been put off to November 21.

This came after the magistrate hearing the inquest was implicated in a report detailing the corruption in the Kenyan judiciary. Events took a new twist yesterday, when the government said it had instructed the 83 magistrates mentioned by the report to continue handling cases before them until they were advised otherwise. Naivasha Resident Magistrate Justin Kaburu was among 82 others implicated in the Ringera Report on Corruption and Gross Misconduct in the Judiciary.

The report, which was released on Thursday October 2, 2003, has led to the Suspension of 23 High Court judges and 11 Court of Appeal judges. Two tribunals have been formed by Kenyan Chief Justice Evans Gicheru to listen to the suspended judges. It was however not established whether a new magistrate would hear the proceedings or whether the hearing will have to be restarted. Archbishop Nicodemus Kirima of Nyeri welcomed the move saying that it was good to give the judges a chance to defend themselves before their fate was decided.

"That is a good sign by the government. If they wronged Kenyans then they should pay for their sins," he said. The Archbishop was speaking during the centenary celebrations to mark 100 years since the Nyeri Archdiocese was established by the Consolata Missionaries. President Mwai Kibaki while addressing the nation during the Kenyatta Day celebrations (October 20) said that the war on corruption had only started, and those involved in the vice had better quit before the government caught up with them.

"We are sending a message that the day of reckoning for those who engage in corruption has come," said the President. The fate of the Fr Kaiser inquest seemed to have taken another turn yet when the lawyer Mbuthi Gathenji appearing for the Church and Fr Kaiser's family was appointed to one of the tribunals into the conduct of the suspended judges. Mr Gathenji had however said that the new appointment would not interrupt the proceedings at the inquest, since he would only need to adjust his diary.

The lawyer welcomed the move to suspend the implicated judges saying that the move would be important to clean up the judiciary. "It is a good move to give credibility to the judiciary in the constitution," said Mr Gathenji.

Source: CISA

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