Judges to seek JSC’s authorization before opening foreign bank accounts

Two Kenyan journalists arrested in Tanzania fined Ksh46,000 as border row escalates. [Photo courtesy]

Kenyan judges will now be required to seek authorization from the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary for them to open a foreign bank account.

This is according to a raft of new laws drawn by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and forwarded to the National Assembly.

Further, those who already hold such accounts are required to give access to the Judiciary for scrutiny.

He/she is required to submit statements to the account every year to JSC for scrutiny.

“A judge who operates or controls the operation of a bank account outside Kenya shall submit statements of the account annually to the Commission, and shall authorise the Commission to verify the statements, and any other relevant information from the foreign financial institution in which the account is held,” part of the 2020 laws reads as reported by the Standard.

The new laws by JSC have been asked when seeking personal loans since, in the event they are perceived to compromise their integrity, they form grounds of their removal from office.

Judges have also been warned against “accepting any gifts, personal loans, bequests, benefits or any other things of value” if they compromise the integrity of the judge.

If found liable of taking a loan which compromised his/her integrity, the law prescribes sacking of the judge.

Further, it will now be illegal for judge to consensually engage in intimacy with a judicial staff. This is a departure from 2016 code of laws by the JSC where consensual intimacy between judges and the judicial staff was allowed expressly on “mutual attraction” and as long as it did not amount to sexual harassment.

The laws also apply to magistrates and Kadhi courts that handle customary Islam matters.