Two High Court judges, one whose elevation to Court of Appeal was turned down by President Uhuru Kenyatta, were today cornered outside their chambers, forced into their offices and searched before they were taken in to record statements.
Chitembwe recently lost a bid to become Chief Justice. He narrated to The Standard the ordeal, which began at around 1.30pm as he walked to Muchelule’s office so they could go for lunch on the fourth floor of Milimani Courts.
He dropped by with an acquaintance who left them catching up in the office. The acquaintance then ran into the beeline of waiting cops.
“When I stepped outside, I found she had been arrested by people who introduced themselves as police officers. We were all forced back into Hon Muchelule’s office, where a search was conducted. We went to my chambers and a similar search was conducted, and they found nothing,” he said.
Chitembwe says they all stood by, bewildered, as the officers turned their chambers upside down, hunting for what they wouldn’t say. “They kept saying somebody complained,” he said.
Later, they all went to the Office of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to record statements. All along, Chitembwe said, the officers maintained that they were not under arrest.
“We recorded statements on the events of the day without knowing who the complainant was or what the complaint was all about, and left. They said in case they require us again they would let us know. It’s all strange to us, and we are equally confused,” Chitembwe said.
Justice Muchelule confirmed that, indeed, he had gone to DCI to record a statement.
“I recorded a statement, that’s all they wanted. Right now I am at home,” a composed Muchelule told The Standard.
According to Justice Chitembwe, nothing was confiscated from either of them or their offices. However, he said, an inventory of the search was made by the officers. He said the officers did not come with official search warrants nor disclose the nature of their inquiry.
“That is what has become of our country; something like this happens and your name is tarnished forever,” Chitembwe summed up his ordeal.
In August 2018, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu was nabbed inside the Supreme Court building, handcuffed and hauled to a lower court in the evening. Her case is still ongoing.
Yesterday, there was no word from the office of the Chief Justice on the circumstances surrounding the raid on the chambers of the two judicial officers.
In April when he appeared for Judicial Service Commission interviews for the CJ position, Chitembwe wept while recounting past charges against him for alleged corruption while he served as company secretary of National Social Security Fund.