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DCJ Philomena Mwilu challenges hiring of Qureshi

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By MAUREEN KAKAH
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Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu has challenged the appointment of Queen’s Counsel Khawar Qureshi to represent the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.

Although the matter had been raised in court when her case came up before a five-judge bench, her lawyers were asked to file a formal complaint.

Justice Mwilu says the appointment of the UK-based lawyer should be declared null and void.

She argues that the Director of Public Prosecution, Mr Noordin Haji, and Attorney-General Paul Kihara Kariuki, unlawfully appointed a foreign lawyer to represent the State in a Kenyan court.

“Whereas Section 11 of the Advocates Act empowers the Attorney-General with the authority and discretion to appoint a foreign advocate, the said powers should be exercised in compliance with all laws for the time being applicable in Kenya,” her lawyers said.

They added: “By purporting to exclude Prof Qureshi from strict statutory qualification conditions applicable to other advocates practising in Kenya, the AG acted discriminatorily in abuse of power and discretion.”

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They said Prof Qureshi does not even have a work permit to enable him to work in the country, adding that his exclusion from the relevant procedure is not justifiable in a free and democratic society, so his appointment is unconstitutional.

Prof Qureshi who is known for being the youngest ever advocate to have appeared before the International Court of Justice, was appointed to this disputed role on December 5 via a gazette notice.

His main task is to serve as a special prosecutor in Justice Mwilu’s trial.

Her lawyers argued that the DPP has no powers to appoint a foreign advocate, and that since her prosecution was temporarily suspended pending the determination of her case in the High Court, there is no trial against her yet.

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