Orengo casts doubt on arrest and prosecution of DCJ Philomena Mwilu

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu at Milimanni Law Courts basement. She is accompanied by one of her lawyers Okongo Omogeni. The DCJ is facing corruption and forgery charges. [George Njunge,Standard]

Lawyer James Orengo, who is appearing for Deputy Justice Philomena Mbete Mwilu, is urging Chief Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi not to require the DCJ to a plea in respect of her abuse of office, corruption and forgery case.

This morning Orengo  opposed her taking of plea on the grounds that the charge sheet was defective and the reasons for her arrest wanting.

He argued that the charges were criminalising “a purely commercial transaction that took place five years ago” and that there was “no factual foundation” for instituting charges against the Deputy Chief Justice.

He submitted that the business in court was an abuse of the court because the matters before it fell under the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission which had investigated them and given instructions for prosecution.

According to Orengo, it was curious that it was the police who brought the charges but not the EACC.

“We are going to demonstrate why the Director of Public Prosecutions, on this matter,  chose to use the  Director of Criminal Investigations  who turned out to be use-friendly instead of using the legal regime; the statutory  regime that relates to offences created under the Anti—Corruption Act,” argued Orengo.

He said the Deputy CJ must not take a plea for an offence “that took place five years ago but in five hours yesterday, the first accused  [DCJ] had been arrested and was in court by five O’clock  which is unusual efficiency for those of us who practice in this court. You should not be in a hurry to require the accused to take a plea,” he urged the magistrate.

Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu was arrested on Tuesday, swiftly arraigned and released on Sh5 million bond and ordered to appear in court today, Wednesday August 29  together with co-accused Stanley Muluvi. 
Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001293713/deputy-chief-justice-mwilu-arraigned-in-court-freed-on-bond-pictures

The Orange Democratic Party called the arrest a witchhunt pointing out that the matter fell under the ambit of the Judicial Service Commission.