Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has criticised the arrest and arraignment of Deputy CJ Philomena Mwilu over alleged corruption, saying it surprised President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kalonzo said the action by the DPP “smacked of an attempt” to demean the judiciary.
In an interview with Citizen TV on Tuesday night, Kalonzo said the President tried to reach out to the Chief Justice David Maraga through the Attorney General Kariuki Kihara over the issue.
The Nasa principal said Mwilu’s issue should have been left in the hands of the Judicial Service Commission.
Kalonzo was responding to why he appeared in court to defend the DCJ after decades of not being an active advocate.
“Because the matter was weighty,” he said, adding that “if you really want to deal with the Deputy Chief Justice, you don’t arraign them before a magistrate’s court. What image are you giving to that profession?”
“The President told me he was surprised,” Kalonzo said. The DCJ in the Judiciary is the equivalent of the Deputy President in the executive.
Mwilu was at the centre of the unprecedented nullification of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election on September 1, 2017, a decision that Uhuru vowed would be revisited.
The DCJ kept asking probing questions during the hearing of the petition that often caught lawyers flat-footed.
Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji dismissed claims that Mwilu’s arrest was influenced by the executive.
“We are not being directed by anyone out there. We are independent…this decision was made independently of any factors or matters out there,” Haji said moments after Mwilu’s arraignment.
Mwilu was arrested on August 28 at the Milimani law courts with Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti in tow.
Her arrest followed a crisis meeting by the Judicial Service Commission at the Milimani court.
Haji said the DCJ was arrested over alleged corruption, failure to pay tax and improper dealings with the Imperial bank, now in receivership.
She was charged with 13 charges before Anti-Corruption Court chief magistrate Lawrence Mugambi and was released on a personal bond of Sh5 million.
One of the charges relates to receiving Sh12 million from the troubled Imperial Bank. She denied all the charges.
The Wiper leader said his appearance in court was also meant to send a message that the DPP’s office should not “overstep” (its mandate).
Kalonzo declined to comment further, saying it would amount to subjudice since the matter is still pending in court.
The judiciary is fighting to have Mwilu’s case referred to the JSC.