NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 28 – Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu is set to be arraigned in court Tuesday evening to face five graft-related charges among them acceptance of money in circumstances that undermine public confidence in the office she holds.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji said the charges to be preferred against Mwilu stemmed from an investigation that was carried out by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
DCI officers led by chief detective George Kinoti arrested Mwilu at the Supreme Court buildings Tuesday afternoon before taking her to DCI Headquarters from where she was processed and subsequently taken to Milimani Law Courts to take plea.
According to Haji, Mwilu is also accused of improperly obtaining the execution of a security belonging to the Imperial Bank, now under receivership.
Mwilu will also be charged with abuse of office, unlawful failure to pay taxes, and conducting herself in disregard of the law.
Haji said he had informed Chief Justice David Maraga of the decision grant consent for the prosecution of Mwilu on criminal charges arising from the DCI investigation.
“This decision has not been taken lightly, but it is the right decision under the law,” the DPP said while refuting claims that he could be acting on instructions from the Executive.
“Most of us in the Office of Public Prosecutor are indeed officers of the court and the dignity and independence of the Judiciary is dear to us,” he said affirming that the decision to prosecute Mwilu was reached independently.
Haji could not however disclose the amount of money Mwilu is said to have obtained by false pretence and the taxes she had evaded, offences said to have been committed from as far back as during her tenure as a Court of Appeal judge, prior to her appointment to the current position in October 2016.
“These details will be disclosed in court when she is formally charged,” he told reporters.
Haji said the arrest was in line with a commitment to fight corruption and uphold the rule of law, without which the criminal justice system will crumble.
He warned that his office will not hesitate to crack the whip on judicial officers who obstruct the delivery of justice.
“There can be no justice if lawyers, prosecutors, magistrates, judges, and investigators use their position to enrich themselves at the expense of the Kenyan people,” said Haji.
The DPP who took his oath of office on March 28 restated his commitment to wage an aggressive war against all forms of graft.
In an apparent reference to ongoing efforts by a multi-agency team to stop illicit trade and infiltration of contraband goods into the market, Haji said his office will protect the health of Kenyans by ensuring products offered for sale meet requisite standards.
“We’ll reinvigorate the efforts to protect the public in areas such as food and consumer product safety,” he vowed.