DPP Haji breaks a sacred wall: Mwiluâ€™s arrest stirs debate
SEE ALSO :Mwilu lawyer wants charges droppedSome members of the commission saw the intended charges to be a about a private commercial transaction that had no bearing on official duties. Why, they asked, was it being raised now and being projected as forming part of the fight against corruption? Secondly, given the fact that the transaction in question dated back more than five years, what has triggered the decision to go back to it? Hopefully, the answers to these will emerge in the trial. One of the charges is a tax issue where Mwilu is suspected to have failed to pay stamp duty to the Kenya Revenue Authority in several transactions. Accountants will be wondering why a tax matter is being handled by the Office of the Deputy Public Prosecutor (ODPP) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and not by the Kenya Revenue Authority, an argument likely to be raised by the defence. The usual procedure for managing tax matters is different from the one that is currently being followed. Even though President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration’s drive against corruption enjoys support across the country, within the judiciary, the Mwilu trial could poison afresh relations between the courts and the government.
SEE ALSO :Mwilu's lawyer accused of lyingWhile the prosecution of such a high-profile personality dramatically shows no-one is sacred in the crackdown, it could breed a quiet resistance in the final and crucial stage of law-enforcement, which is in the courts of law. That would turn the whole anti-corruption exercise into a fool’s errand. The media had been expecting a statement from the Chief Justice’s office in the morning, but none was released at all. Recently, members of the JSC have been taken through a detailed financial audit which included, in some cases, speaking to members of their families. That is a good thing – no section of Kenyan society should be spared in the ongoing clean-up. The public will be studying the charges unveiled this morning against judge Mwilu and analyzing the details. The state must prepare for the possibility of a perception growing, especially among Judge Mwilu’s sympathisers, that her arrest is the beginning of the threatened “revisit” of the Judiciary’s judgment that annulled the presidential election in 2017. It’s up to the DPP to ensure the prosecution of this case dispels any such suspicion. Whatever justification is given for the arrest, the aura of inviolability which envelopes judicial office, and which is so important for the independence of the judiciary, has been broken.
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