Kenyan court stops criminal case against deputy chief justice

Wednesday August 29 2018

Philomena Mwilu

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu with lawyer Okong’o Omogeni at the Milimani Law Courts, Nairobi, on August 28, 2018. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

SAM KIPLAGAT
By SAM KIPLAGAT
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Kenya’s top prosecutor Noordin Haji has suffered a blow in his quest to prosecute the country’s second highest judge for alleged corruption.

The High Court on Wednesday stopped criminal proceedings against Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu and lawyer Stanley Kiima.

The judge is facing several charges of stealing, abuse of office and failure to pay taxes.

Additionally, investigators claim that the judge has acted in contravention of the Leadership and Integrity Act by accepting a personal loan of Ksh12 million ($120,000) from collapsed Imperial Bank.

The judge is also accused of engaging in misconduct in furtherance of personal benefit.

But in her application, Judge Mwilu argues that her alleged impropriety while handling Imperial Bank cases was not a criminal offence.

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She argued that Mr Haji was motivated by malice and his allegations are malicious.

Through lawyers John Khaminwa and Okongo Omogeni, she said the cases were “purely commercial transactions” and which were concluded.

The criminal case against her at the anti-corruption court, she said, is not coincidental and appears to be part of a larger scheme to embarrass her as the country's second top judge. 

In his ruling, High Court judge Chacha Mwita said there are constitutional issues to be addressed in the petition, especially on grounds that the matter was a commercial matter and whether it can lead to the arrest of a judge.

The case will be heard on October 9.

The criminal proceedings, which were ongoing while the High Court ruling was given, will now remain suspended until then.

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