DPP Noordin Haji wants Lawyer James Orengo barred from DCJ Mwilu’s case

KTN News Dec 06,2018

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Attempts by the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji to have London-based Queen's Counsel Khawar Qureshi to prosecute Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu have hit a snag. The High Court responding to lawyer James Orengo, who is appearing for the  DCJ and wanted the Queen's Counsel Khawar Qureshi stopped from prosecuting Mwilu's corruption case on grounds that he didn’t produce a certificate of practice, granted his prayers.

Justices Hellen Omondi, Mumbi Ngugi, William Musyoka, Francis Tuiyot and Chacha Mwita directed the matter to be heard on January 17, 2019. The court further directed the defence to file a formal application within 14 days. The DPP was also given a similar period to respond. DCJ Mwilu is accused of abuse of office, accepting money in the form of a gift, failure to pay taxes, and obtaining by false pretext security belonging to Imperial Bank – which was placed under receivership.

In a battle of wits, Secretary of Prosecutions Dorcus Oduor said the prosecution would apply to have lawyers Okongo Omogeni and James Orengo disqualified from the defence team because as senators, they enjoyed parliamentary privilege to question the DPP in Senate Committees which amounts to conflict of interest. Qureshi has been engaged by DPP Noordin Haji to handle the corruption case facing DCJ Mwilu on grounds that case was complicated and needed an independent person who had no political links or emotional attachment to it.

He further pointed out that his office was forced to single-source for an independent person, after Dorcas Odour, who was in charge was accused of being impartial. According to DPP, while appearing before Senate Justice, Human Rights and Legal Affairs Committee Wednesday, he  picked the professor through single-sourcing after failing to find a suitable candidate through advertisement.

The DPP was responding to a question from Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika, who expressed concern that the appointment of the Queen's Counsel could be seen as indicating that the DPP's office lacked prosecutors of integrity and competence to handle complex cases.

A Queen's Counsel, or King's Counsel during the reign of a king, is an eminent lawyer who is appointed by the monarch to be one of "Her Majesty's Counsel learned in the law." The term is also recognised as an honorific.