Kiambu Senior Principal Magistrate Theresa Nyangena has been suspended from duty over accusations of gross misconduct and neglect of work.
The suspension letter served to her on January 13 and signed by acting Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, sought herto show cause why she should not be dismissed from service and at the same time ordered not to report for duty until her disciplinary case is determined.
The move comes in the wake of complaints by litigants and lawyers over delays by the magistrate in making rulings and the manner in which she conducts court business.
Prior to the suspension, Nyangena had postponed four times her ruling in a case in which Thika-based businessman Victor Maina and an advocate Muriuki Ngunjiri has denied forging documents in the sale of a parcel of land belonging to former Gatundu North MP Patrick Muiruri.
In the matter which was coming up for ruling on Thursday for the fifth time since October last year, Muiruri claimed that the two accused persons had changed documents in an agreement in which Muiruri had sold 17 acres of land in Thika to Maina who is also the proprietor of the Mathai Supermarket chain.
Similarly, senior state counsel Catherine Mwaniki had in May 2019 sought to have Nyangena disqualify herself from hearing a murder case against city lawyer Assa Nyakundi claiming she was biased and was not recording court proceeds.
Justice Mwilu while taking the action on the magistrate, just days after she took over office from retired CJ Justice David Maraga, referred to a letter by the Registrar Magistrates Courts on October 16th, 2020 in relation to complaints on her court attendance and performance.
The acting CJ also made reference to another incidence in which the head of the Kiambu law courts addressed Nyangena in relation to her absence from duty without leave on August 26th last year.
“It has been reported that you have neglected your work as a judicial officer and decided as and when to report to duty. Your conduct has adversely affected service delivery at the station since your court no longer has a course list or special duties allocated to it,” Mwilu wrote.
The acting CJ noted that the accusations can lead to severe disciplinary action including dismissal from service and gave the SPM 14 days to respond to the letter after which disciplinary proceedings will be instituted against her.
Nyangena had offered herself as one of the aspirants for Judicial Service Commission positions but lost her bid.