A three-judge bench of the Constitutional Court yesterday heard that Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu engaged in suspicious financial activities totalling to Sh20 million.
Through lawyers Lynn Owano, Charles Kanjama and Paul Muite, the court also heard that Mwilu communicated with a criminal suspect, Araft Ikumu Omar, who is facing two criminal cases at Milimani law courts in 2018.
According to Kanjama, the dealings involved two companies, RAEI Investments and Grand Forest Japan Hospital Limited.
“The transactions were Sh3 million paid by Justice Mwilu at the Supreme Court parking lot on October28, 2014 and Sh7 million at her office,” said Kanjama.
Mwilu is also said to have paid another Sh10 million at her residence on November 5,2014.
Additionally, Kanjama said that the transactions were in relation to the sale and acquisition of three pieces of land.
Omar was accused of forging $523, 900, a firearm certificate and an identity card.
He was also charged with escaping from custody at Milimani courts parking yard when officers attached to the Transnational Organised Crime Unit were taking him to Muthaiga police station.
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) brought up the cash dealings during the second hearing in a case by Mwilu challenging a hearing of four petitions seeking her removal over gross misconduct.
According to the JSC lawyers, Mwilu ought to have let the proceedings before the JSC be completed before she could approach the court for remedy.
JSC accuses Mwilu of trying to defeat justice by not appearing before the commission and her case has halted the start of disciplinary proceedings.
“The JSC has no interest other that executing its mandate. It is not true that Justice Mwilu’s goose is cooked, it is in her intrest to be cleared of the allegations. The commission has not made a decision. It wants an opportunity to investigate,” said Muite.
Muite and Kanjama yesterday argued that Justice Mwilu has to date never replied to the allegations filed against her by Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji and Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti despite being given an opportunity to reply.
The commission accuses her of also stalling an appeal filed before Court of Appeal where she allegedly informed the court that it could not proceed as JSC was already determining the allegations.
“Until today, the petitioner is yet to respond to the substance of allegations against her. What she did instead is file two preliminary objections contending that the matters raised in the petitions were subjudice because they related to a pending appeal. She also claimed that they were a collateral attempt to overturn the decision of the high court,” Kanjama argued.
Three judges heard that JSC had given Mwilu 21 days to reply to the claims filed against her.
It is then she raised an objection, opposing the presence of Attorney General Kihara Kariuki and Law Society of Kenya (LSK) male representative Macharia Njeru.
On Macharia, she accused him of lobbying for her removal, saying that she heard that he was discussing that Court of Appeal should expedite the appeals filed by Haji.
At the same time, she argued that the claims touched on the case she had filed and won.
According to Justice Mwilu’s lawyers James Orengo, Julie Soweto, Jackson Awele, Prof Ben Sihanya and Nelson Havi, the High Court quashed the charges and therefore there was nothing left to complain about.
However, JSC says she is running away from answering to claims against her.
While defending Kihara and Macharia, Kanjama argued that JSC first agreed that since the petitions involved a senior judge, they would be heard by the entire commission, instead of committees.
At the same time, Muite argued that although the High Court quashed the charges, it never quashed the petitions.
According to him, the court was clear that the route was JSC before a decision is made to try a judge before the magistrates court.
The DPP charged Mwilu with fraud, bribery, abuse of office and related charges, all of which she denies.
DPP Noordin Haji accuses Justice Mwilu of using different means to delay the criminal case against her.