NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 28 – Tuesday’s arrest and subsequent arraignments in court of Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu brings to the fore predicaments faced by holders of the coveted office.
Mwilu is the third Deputy Chief justice to hold the position and not without controversy.
Just like other high-profile arrests in the recent past, Mwilu’s was not different.
Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti and Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji, who had already informed her boss, Chief Justice David Maraga of their intended action, were at the Supreme Court when she was led to the DCI Headquarters.
“We did that for respect since he is the head of the Judiciary and also our boss,” Haji told journalists on Tuesday.
Mwilu was driven to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations headquarters on Kiambu Road in a convoy of more than four speeding vehicles.
She was taken to the Investigations Bureau for processing and thereafter to the Milimani Law Courts.
– Memories rekindled –
Her arrest rekindled memories of the previous incidents revolving around her predecessors.
It all started with the removal of former DCJ Nancy Baraza after she was accused of assaulting a security guard at a city shopping mall on December 31, 2011.
She is said to have pinched the security guard’s nose and finished by telling her that “she should know people.”
After a tribunal found her unfit to continue serving as a DCJ, Baraza opted to quit.
Then came Kalpana Rawal, who was sworn into office on June 3, 2013.
Her term was however cut short after she attained the age of 70 years.
And that was a mandatory retirement age according to a High Court ruling, which she challenged.
Her argument was that having assumed office under the old constitution, she was bound to retire at the age of 74.
Her argument was dismissed by the Court of Appeal, while the Supreme Court failed to admit her case.
With that, it was a wrap for Rawal.
That paved way for Lady Justice Mwilu, who could be staring at an early exit if found guilty.
DPP Haji has since assured the country that her case is watertight.
The Deputy Chief Justice is accused of improperly obtaining the execution of a security belonging to the Imperial Bank, now under receivership, abuse of office, unlawful failure to pay taxes and conducting herself in disregard of the law.
She was released on personal bond of Sh5 million by the anti-corruption court late on Tuesday.
Anti-Corruption Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi asked the Deputy Chief Justice to execute the bond as a promissory note for her appearance in court Wednesday for further directions.