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Court allows UK lawyer to lead Mwilu prosecution




Court allows UK lawyer to lead Mwilu prosecution

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The High Court has allowed British attorney and legal scholar Khawar Qureshi to lead the prosecution of Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu on corruption charges with Senator James Orengo permitted to defend her.

A bench of five judges dismissed the application by Justice Mwilu seeking to bar Mr Qureshi from representing the prosecution in the graft suit.

The judges held that DPP Noordin Haji’s appointment of Mr Qureshi was in line with the law. The court also declined to stop lawyer Okong’o Omogeni from representing Justice Mwilu, rejecting the DPP’s claim of conflict of interest.

Ms Mwilu was arrested in August on suspicion of corruption, failure to pay tax and improper dealings with Imperial Bank now under receivership.

“The 1st respondent has power to engage an advocate to act on his behalf. Mr Qureshi was properly appointed to appear in this petition,” ruled the judges.

Justices Helen Omondi, Mumbi Ngugi, Francis Tuiyot, William Musyoka and Chacha Mwita ruled that an advocate who has been certified as such in the Commonwealth is competent to represent clients in Kenya.

They held that not being a member of the Law Society of Kenya doesn’t bar a foreign advocate from practising in Kenya.

The court held that the Immigration Department had issued Mr Qureshi with a special work permit that allows him to do business in Kenya.

They rejected the claim that Mr Qureshi’s services were procured irregularly since no competitive process took place.