The Asset Recovery Agency has compelled Chief Justice Martha Koome to take action against High Court Judge Justice Nixon Sifuna following his remarks which condemned the agency for filing and withdrawing a Ksh6 billion money laundering case.
In a letter dated November 17, the Agency, through its director Alice Mate, demanded an investigation be done against the judge to determine the motive behind Justice Sifuna’s remarks and further evaluate whether his actions were indicative of a pattern of misconduct.
‘It is essential that the integrity and decisional independence of judges and judicial officers is exercised judiciously and within the confines of the Constitution,” read part of the Agency’s statement.
“It is also crucial to uphold the integrity of the Judiciary and ensure that judges refrain from making baseless allegations that could tarnish the reputation of individuals and organizations dedicated to serving justice.”
Inside the Asset Recovery Agency office
Asset Recovery Agency
According to the ARA Director, Justice Sifuna’s remarks compromised her reputation and that of the agency, which she noted could have far-reaching consequences on how they carry out their roles.
“These allegations suggest corruption and money laundering acts within the ARA, tarnishing the reputation and credibility of the agency in the eyes of the public,” Mate lamented.
“Such baseless accusations not only unfairly implicate our dedicated team but also cast aspersions and a shadow of doubt on the entire judicial system.”
Earlier this week, Justice Sifuna accused the agency of unwarrantedly terminating a Ksh6 billion money laundering case involving three companies.
The three companies were accused of laundering the money from proceeds of crime.
Sifuna called for periodic lifestyle audits to be conducted and integrity tests to be done on all agency workers to determine the source of their wealth and halt the frequent and unwarranted withdrawal of corruption cases.
The judge noted that the move would ensure integrity and accountability in handling court cases, especially corruption ones, and restore public confidence in such institutions and agencies.
“Given the critical and delicate nature of anti-corruption cases for instance, there should be no room for deal-cutting, blackmail, or witch-hunt,” Sifuna noted.
However, he approved the withdrawal of the suit and asked all respondents to bear the costs.
“This withdrawal is however on condition that any civil or tortious liability suit(s) that may hereafter arise as a consequence of this termination of forfeiture suit shall not be passed to the Government of Kenya or be levied on public funds,” Sifuna warned.
The Judiciary and CJ Martha Koome are yet to respond to ARA’s request and allegations leveled against the judge.
A photo of the Court Bench
The Judiciary of Kenya