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Ojienda stops Christmas arrest over car use probe

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Lawyer Tom Ojienda. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Lawyer Tom Ojienda. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Lawyer Tom Ojienda was Thursday spared from spending a night in a police cell this weekend ahead of Christmas celebrations.

Justice Enoch Chacha Mwita issued the directive in a case in which Prof Ojienda, a member of the Judicial Service Commission, is in court seeking to be shielded from imminent arrest and prosecution surrounding misuse of a government car or unlawful possession.

The judge issued a temporary order stopping his arrest and responding to summons from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Authority (EACC) over misuse of a car offered to the lawyer as a commissioner. The investigations centre on the GK car with a private plate number, but Prof Ojienda has said he does not drive the vehicle since it has an official driver. Justice Mwita issued the order “restraining EACC, its officials, employees, servants or agents from commencing any criminal processes like arresting, summoning, questioning, threatening and harassing Prof Ojienda in any way with respect to the official government car assigned to him, pending the hearing and determination of this case.”

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In documents filed at the High Court, Prof Ojienda claimed that he was summoned on Tuesday and asked to make available his national identification card. He said this was a side show intended to divert him from performing his constitutional duties, cause him psychological torture as well as block him from running for a second term as a JSC commissioner. There are disciplinary procedures under the Judicial Service Act on how a judicial staff, judges and commissioners ought to be disciplined if need be, he said. “It, therefore, goes without saying that if there is any issue raised against a staff assigned to a member of JSC, then that issue must be handled by the internal disciplinary procedures set out by the JSC Act as it is purely an employer-employee question,” said Prof Ojienda.

He added: “ But more importantly the EACC cannot, therefore, purport to openly breach the laid down procedures of handling disciplinary issues as doing so threatens the independence of JSC, the Judiciary, commissioners and judges vicariously.” He argued that the mandate to allocate vehicles rests with the office of the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary hence it is apparent that the EACC is out on a malicious excursion to get him subjected to a flawed criminal process.

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