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Police have no right to freeze accounts, says Paul Muite

COAST
By Joackim Bwana | May 2nd 2015

Mombasa, Kenya - Police have no legal powers to freeze the accounts of any organisation before demonstrating beyond reasonable doubt that it supports terrorism, a senior lawyer has said.

 

Senior Counsel Paul Muite told a Mombasa court that the Inspector General of Police (IG) had acted contrary to the law.

Muite, representing Haki Africa and Muslims for Human Rights whose accounts were frozen for alleged terrorist connections in the wake of the Garissa attack, said the State has not supplied any evidence linking the two organisations to terrorism.

"The petitioners are just suspected entities whose accounts have been frozen illegally on the basis of suspicions by the IGP, and this is not according to the law," said Muite.

"The Director of Public Prosecutions should take the petitioners to court if they have any evidence," said Muite who is defending the two groups that have sued NIC Bank, the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) over the freeze.

But the DPP, AG and NIC Bank argued before Justice Mathew Emukule that the court has no jurisdiction to listen to or arbitrate this matter for lack of know-how on terrorism.

Wanjiku Biu representing the AG, said they were acting on the Unesco laws and Anti-Terrorism Act of Kenya.

NIC bank lawyer Wamuti Ndegwa, said there is a statutory remedy provided by the State, which the petitioners are avoiding because the authorities are more equipped more than the High Court.

Alexander Muteti representing the DPP, said freezing of the accounts was in line with the Prevention of the Terrorism Act.

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