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Kenya’s deputy chief justice arrested over graft allegations

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- The Kenyan police on Tuesday arrested Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu over corruption allegations.

Mwilu was picked up at the Supreme Court by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) over alleged transactions involving the collapsed Imperial Bank.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji later told journalists that Mwilu who was taken to DCI headquarters for questioning abused her office for personal gain and received a bribe.

“The evidence in our possession, reveals that Lady Justice Mwilu abused her office for personal gain; accepted a gift in the form of money in circumstances which undermined public confidence in the integrity of her office,” Haji said.

He said the Supreme Court judge obtained execution of a security belonging to Imperial Bank Limited now in receivership by false pretense, conducted herself in disregard of the law and unlawfully failed to pay taxes.

“In view of the above, I have concluded that the evidence is sufficient with a reasonable prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest that criminal proceedings should be preferred,” said Haji.

Sources close to investigations say they have firm evidence in the investigation that could see charges filed in court at any time.

The director of public prosecution said Kenya is being torn apart by people who have been placed in positions of trust and who in turn abuse this trust.

“The message that the President, the Chief Justice and other leaders have been sending is that this chaotic system needs to come to an end for the sake of our people,” he said and vowed to enhance the fight against corruption to the end.

He said public officers in positions of service must not only submit to the constitutional precepts of integrity, “they must exercise wisdom, demonstrate good judgment and lead by the power of their example.”

He said that after the DCI forwarded a file relating to Mwilu, he quickly informed the Chief Justice David Maraga of his decision.

“This was out of respect for him and he went ahead and granted consent for the arrest and prosecution,” he said. Haji said criminal proceedings would be preferred on Mwilu adding that the decision was not taken lightly.

“It is the right decision under the law. I believe that judges in a democracy such as ours must be free and fair in everything that they do,” said Haji.

The DPP said the justice system only works if lawyers, prosecutors, magistrates and judges are fair and just.

“There can be no justice if lawyers, prosecutors, magistrates, judges and investigators (who are court officials) use their position to enrich themselves at the expense of the Kenyan people,” he added. 



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