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Magistrate Everlyne Olwande faces lock out of JSC race for violating Covid-19 regulations

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Senior Principal Magistrate Everlyne Olwande who is a candidate for magistrate’s slot on the Judicial Servie Commission is likely to be locked out of the JSC race for violating Covid-19 regulations.

Olwande who is accused of disobeying Covid-19 rules put in place by the state is one of the four magistrates contending to replace Emily Ominde on the Judicial Service Commission to represent magistrates. Ominde’s term as JSC commissioner expires in December and magistrates are expected to vote for a representative. She is also seeking to be promoted to the position of chief magistrate.

In May this year, Nation reported that,

“A magistrate and an MP are among those expected to be charged today for violating the curfew. Magistrate E. Olwande of Limuru Law Courts and Embakasi Central MP Benjamin Mwangi are out on police bail.

“Ms Olwande was arrested at a house party in Embakasi. Police are said to have also arrested 16 people who the magistrate had reportedly hosted for a birthday party.

“Mr Mwangi was arrested at a tavern in Ruai, where he was drinking with 25 others.”

In a letter dated October 28, the Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu gave Olwande seven days within which to respond.

The letter to Olwande comes weeks to her interview before the JSC seeking promotion to the position of chief magistrate. She is scheduled to appear before JSC for interview on November 19.

The complaint against the magistrate was made to the office of ombudsman by Edward Onyancha.

Onyancha filed his complaint on May 21 accusing the magistrate of contravening Covid-19 rules.

Onyancha explained that the magistrate was arrested together with some friends at 3.45am in Syokimau along Mombasa road while partying.

The arrest was covered by the media and the magistrate and a friend were booked at Embakasi police station and later on released on cash bail. They were to appear in court on April 14. The two were never arraigned.

Onyancha said: “It is expected that all citizens obey the said regulations and it was wrong for you as a judicial officer with mandate to adjudicate matters concerning disobedience of rule of law to circumvent the course of justice.”

The Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu who is heading the office of ombudsman in the judiciary said that if the allegations against Magistrate Olwande is approved, then it would lead to disciplinary action.

“These allegations, if proved, amount to gross misconduct and may lead to disciplinary action being taken against you,” Mwilu’s letter reads.

The office of the ombudsman investigates any complaint against judicial officers and once completed, the office sends its finding to the Chief Justice who refers matters to the JSC.