Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu is back in Milimani Law Courts following the expiry of orders that were issued by High court Judge Chacha Mwita barring her prosecution by the Magistrate court. Justice Mwilu wants the case against her postponed. She was arraigned before Senior Magistrate Lawrence Mugambi on August 28, where she faced charges of forgery, corruption and failing to pay taxes. The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji is pushing for the empanelling of a three-judge bench to hear the case. The directorate argues that as it is now, an impression that Justice Mwilu is ”above the law” is created, hence the need for legal clarification. The bench the DPP is pressing for will determine whether the Judicial Service Commission or an anti-corruption court merits the jurisdiction of hearing the case.
Through its lawyer Mr Ken Ogeto, the Office of Public Prosecutions argues that the court ought to give a ruling on both the formation of the three-judge bench and jurisdiction of hearing. In August Justice Mwilu was released Sh5 million bond on which she was ordered to appear in court the following day with her co-accused, lawyer Stanley Muluvi, the following day. She is accused of “Obtaining execution of a security belonging to Imperial Bank Limited by false pretense. Abusing her office for personal gain. Accepting a gift in the form of money in circumstances which undermined public confidence in the integrity of her office.
Unlawful failure to pay taxes. Conducting herself in disregard of the law.” According to the charge sheet, Justice Mwilu obtained Sh12 million between August 15, 2013 and October 23, 2015 from the bank’s headquarters in Nairobi. The charge sheet reads that she influenced the manager of the bank to surrender to her two land titles to obtain a Sh60 million loan and failed to pay Sh3.1 million stamp duty for property she bought and forged KRA stamp duty papers. Her lawyers who promised a bruising legal battle pointed that state’s decision to charge her over matters that happened five years ago, was a ploy to hound her out of office and has nothing to do with fighting graft.
DCJ Mwilu was represented by a battery of 18 lawyers, including senior counsel James Orengo, John Khaminwa, Okong’o Omogeni, Daniel Maanzo, Millie Odhiambo, Peter Kaluma, Anthony Oluoch and Mutula Kilonzo Jnr. The ruling on the case will be made on October 17.