Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji was yesterday feeling the heat of prosecuting Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu as the matter returned before a magistrate’s court.
And yesterday, the DPP made it clear that his charges of abuse of office, forgery and failing to pay taxes was only a job for the good of the public but not a war with the Judiciary.
Mr Haji was under pressure from the first day he presented Justice Mwilu to court when several lawyers claimed he was being used to settle political scores arising from the Supreme Court’s nullification of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election on August 8 last year.
Senior Counsel and Siaya Senator James Orengo told the court that the DPP had ignited a “nuclear bomb” whose target was to interfere with judicial independence.
When they appeared before magistrate Lawrence Mugambi where the charges against Justice Mwilu were formally suspended, the DPP through State prosecutors Dorcas Oduor and Alexander Muteti made their point clear.
“The DPP has instructed us to convey to the court that he is not attacking the Judiciary and that the decision to charge the DCJ should not be taken to mean he is undermining the Judiciary as an institution,” said Mr Muteti.
According to the prosecutors, the DPP respects the courts and the rights of the accused persons and was pleading with the courts to treat him fairly without passing a judgment on his conduct based on the decision to prosecute the DCJ.
Ms Oduor submitted that the DCJ’s case was not about the office of the DPP having an ill-motive against the judge but about public interest to fight corruption.
“He told us to tell the court that he is not fighting anyone or abusing the court process and his wish is to continue respecting court’s decisions,” said Oduor.
The prosecutors appeared subdued by Justice Mwilu’s legal team of 44 top lawyers who claimed that the hurry in which the DCJ was arrested, processed and taken to court suggested an ill motive.
According to the lawyers, the DPP did not follow the right procedure in bringing up the charges against Justice Mwilu and demanded that he first clears his name before prosecuting Justice Mwilu.
“We have accused the DPP who has also accused our client. He must first clear his name against the accusations we have labelled against him before he can be allowed to prosecute the DCJ,” said Mr Orengo.
Lady Justice Mwilu has also claimed in her affidavit contesting the charges that the DPP is abusing the court system to punish, intimidate, and grossly undermine the institution of the Judiciary and to take away its independence.
The chief magistrate ruled that since he had been served with a formal High Court order stopping the criminal proceedings, the case will remain suspended until October 22 when they will get further orders from the High Court.