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Economy

Haji defends hiring of Queen’s Counsel in Mwilu corruption case

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.
Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Attorney General Kihara Kariuki on Thursday defended the appointment of Prof Khawar Qureshi to lead the prosecution of the Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu.

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji appointed Prof Qureshi, a Queen’s Counsel, to handle the case but Justice Mwilu objected, saying his hiring was irregular and unconstitutional.

The AG, through lawyer Emmanuel Bita, said yesterday the hiring followed all procedures and that his office has the powers to make such an appointment without being questioned.

Mr Bita said lawyers representing Justice Mwilu had failed to point out the illegality in the appointment and the DCJ has not shown how she will suffer if Prof Qureshi is not stopped from representing the DPP.

The DPP, through secretary of prosecutions Dorcas Oduor, said the Queen’s Counsel met the criteria for appointment and there was no evidence that the British lawyer was not qualified.

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She said any party not satisfied with the hiring of the QC, should have appealed at the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board.

The DPP also opposed the representation of Senators James Orengo (Siaya) and Okong’o Omogeni (Nyamira) saying their appearance in court yet they were members of Senate’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, which oversights the DPP, raises conflict of interest.

The High Court temporarily halted criminal proceedings against Ms Mwilu who was arrested on August 28 over corruption, failure to pay taxes and improper dealings with collapsed Imperial Bank.

In the main petition, Mr Haji wants the court to determine whether criminal prosecution of a sitting judge undermines the independence of the Judiciary.

The DPP also wants the court to determine whether criminal proceedings can be initiated against a sitting judge and whether before the commencement of such criminal prosecution, it is constitutionally necessary to remove the judge from office.

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