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Mwilu opposes Haji’s UK lawyer

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

Lawyers representing Deputy CJ Philomena Mwilu in a petition seeking to determine whether she should face criminal charges have opposed a foreign counsel appointed by Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.

Senior Counsel James Orengo yesterday opposed Queen's Counsel Khawar Qureshi from representing Mr Haji in the petition to be heard by five judges.

Mr Orengo said Mr Qureshi cannot represent Mr Haji in the case because he does not possess instruments such as certificate of admission allowing him to practice in Kenya.

“We have not been shown a valid practicing certificate, for purposes of our courts, under the Advocates Act,” Mr Orengo said.

But in reply, secretary of prosecutions Dorcas Oduor said the Mr Haji has a right to pick a lawyer of his choice to represent him in any case.

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Ms Oduor said they will be “happy” to respond to opposition by Mr Orengo if the defence team makes a formal application.

But after an hour break, the court resumed with Mr Haji seeking disqualification of Mr Orengo and lawyer Okong'o Omogeni, who are both senators, from the case.

The DPP, through Ms Oduor, said the two lawyers sit on a Senate committee which plays an oversights role over the office of the DPP and the Judiciary and, therefore, access crucial information touching on the case before the court.

She accused the two defence lawyers of conflict of interest.

Ms Oduor wondered why the defence team is questioning the appointment of Mr Qureshi yet Mr Haji appeared before the Senate committee and explained the terms of the UK’s lawyer's hiring.

The hearing that started yesterday will decide whether criminal proceedings against deputy chief justice Philomena Mwilu should continue or be thrown out.

Ms Mwilu was arrested in August on suspicion of corruption, failure to pay tax and improper dealings with a local bank now in receivership.

The High Court temporarily halted criminal proceedings against her and accepted an application on grounds that her prosecution raised constitutional issues.

After hearing the objections, Justices Helen Omondi, Mumbi Ngugi, Francis Tuiyot, William Musyoka and Chacha Mwita directed the parties to file all objections within 14 days and responses afterwards.

They said that all the matters, including applications by parties seeking to join the case, will be heard on January 17.

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