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Judges set date for ruling on Mwilu graft case



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Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu will on May 31 know whether she will be prosecuted over corruption allegations levelled against her.

A bench of five judges comprising Justices Hellen Omondi, Mumbi Ngugi, Francis Tuiyot, William Musyoka and Chacha Mwita said on Thursday.

The judges have been presiding over the hearing of the case in which the Deputy Chief Justice challenged her prosecution. It has been held for three consecutive days.

“This marks the end of formal court proceedings, thank you for your contributions,” Lady Justice Omondi said on behalf of the bench.

Justice Omondi went ahead to specify the date and time for the judgment of the case, as lawyers from all parties thanked the court for its commitment to settle the issue.

Ms Mwilu faces 13 counts of abuse of office, obtaining the execution of a security by false pretense, failure to pay taxes to the Kenya Revenue Authority, forgery and uttering a false document.

At least seven relate to failing to pay monies amounting to about Sh12 million to the KRA as stamp duty, and were allegedly committed on various dates between 2013 to 2016.

She has however not taken plea to any of the charges, and was released on a Sh5 million police bond after her arrest last year.

While her battery of 18 lawyers mainly argued that the matter should have been taken before the Judicial Service Commission and that her prosecution is out of malice, Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji and Attorney General Paul Kariuki argue that the law allows anyone to face prosecution regardless of their position.

Queen’s Counsel Khawar Qureshi told the court there is evidence against her, and that the directive to have her prosecuted is legal.

“The DPP’s actions are compatible with the Constitution and the ODPP Act 2013 to institute proceedings against any person in any court. There are no limits to the DPP’s jurisdiction,” Mr Qureshi said.

He added: “If there was going to be any limitation, it would be indicated in the Constitution, as it is there is no caveat excluding anyone from prosecution.”

Mr Qureshi presented one of his first lengthy submissions in a Kenyan court.

Severally, before the court adjourned and afterwards when the hearing resumed, he was interrupted by defence lawyers, among them Mr Nelson Havi, who put him to task to specify the documents he was referring to.

At one time when the judges adjourned shortly, he got involved in a bitter verbal exchange with the defence lawyers who told him that Kenya is a sovereign country, and should he be unhappy he can return home.

During the hearing, when he pointed out that Ms Mwilu had a close relationship with former Imperial Bank Managing Director Abdulmalek Janmohamed, which was ‘proved’ by her attending his funeral, the defence lawyers appeared upset by such revelations, forcing one of the judges to intervene.

“Calm down, let’s have some decorum,” Justice Omondi pleaded.

The tension saw the Queen’s Counsel hastily rushed out through the same exit used by the judges soon after the court adjourned.

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