LSK wants action against judge in Pattni case

April 22, 2013 1:28 pm
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LSK Chairman Eric Mutua has urged the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to probe nine complaints its members have made against Justice Joseph Mutava/FILE
LSK Chairman Eric Mutua has urged the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to probe nine complaints its members have made against Justice Joseph Mutava/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 22 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) is now demanding action against the High Court Judge who acquitted businessman Kamlesh Pattni of all criminal charges in the Goldenberg scandal.

LSK Chairman Eric Mutua has urged the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to probe nine complaints its members have made against Justice Joseph Mutava.

He said majority of the complaints concern cases involving Pattni and his companies.

“We strongly believe in the rule of law and insist that justice should not only be done, but seen to be done on the multi-billion shilling scandal,” Mutua said.

He regretted that Justice Mutava recently acquitted Pattni of the criminal charges and said that the LSK would appeal against the decision.

“We (LSK) will appeal against the decision by Justice Mutava in public interest, if such action is not taken by the parties involved,” Mutua added.

He said that a case such as the multi-billion shilling Goldenberg scandal cannot be dismissed on grounds that it has taken long in court.

“The Goldenberg scandal nearly brought the country to its knees on the economic front and it cannot be dismissed on flimsy grounds,” the LSK chairman said.

“We (LSK) demand immediate action on the complaints we lodged against Justice Mutava before the JSC,” Mutua reiterated.

Already the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has written to the Registrar of the High Court seeking to be provided with all the case proceedings for purposes of appeal.

Justice Mutava of the Commercial Division invalidated the criminal proceedings against Pattni after the businessman moved to the High Court to contest the criminal charges which were preferred against him more than eight years ago.

Pattni and five others were accused of conspiring to steal Sh5.8 billion between April 19 and 29, 1993 from the Paymaster General’s account held at Central Bank of Kenya.

Pattni had moved to the High Court arguing that he was not likely to get a fair hearing as three of his co-accused had died.

He had been charged together with former Kenya Commercial Bank General Manager Elijah arap Bii, the late Wilfred Karuga Koinange who was the then Permanent Secretary at the Treasury, the late former spy chief James Kanyotu and ex-Deputy CBK Governor Eliphaz Riungu, also deceased.

The LSK chairman wondered why the JSC moved with speed in hearing and determining the complaint lodged against former Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza yet the complaints against Justice Mutava are more serious and have taken more than six months to be acted on.

“We are deeply concerned that the JSC is treading carefully on Justice Mutava yet complaints we forwarded to them against him are weighty,” Mutua pointed out saying that the former DCJ who resigned in October 2012 had a single complaint against her rushed through a tribunal while Justice Mutava has nine complaints lodged against him.

Mutua has maintained that the rule of law must be respected in line with the new Constitution.

“Criminal charges are serious in any court of law; the magnitude of the Goldenberg scandal cannot be wished away,” the LSK chairman held.

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