The dismissal of graft charges against embattled Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu will have huge ramifications in the country’s judiciary as well as nation’s politics.From the onset, there have been perceptions of witch hunt and political under hands in the case which was leveled against Ms Mwilu. Her adversaries have lost the battle, at least for now.
In the entire Supreme Court bench, Justice Philomena Mwilu has been the most persecuted judge out of the six.Her problems begun after the annulment of the 2017 presidential elections, which brought fourth the famous ‘we shall revisit the judiciary’ remark.It must be noted that the Deputy Chief Justice is married to Busia Senator Amos Wako and an ODM stalwart as well as Raila Odinga’s right hand man.This, in part also played a role in her woes.
A day before the repeat presidential elections of October 26th 2017, the Deputy Chief Justice’s body guard was shot and fatally injured along Ngong Road in Nairobi.This was an apparent warning to Ms Mwilu on the role she played in the cancelling of the presidential vote.Also, it was just hours away before Mwilu –– a tough talking judge –– and her six colleagues heard another explosive case that would have altered the election calendar. This event caused panic and immense fear in the judiciary at that time.Some quarters also say that shooting was targeting her, only that she was not with her body guard at that time.
Mwilu would again face another tribulation when she got arrested on August 28th almost a year after Supreme Court annulled the presidential vote.Both the DCI and the DPP played an instrumental role in her arrest.The arrest of such a high-ranking judicial staff, was unprecedented in Kenya’s history, the DPP said it was a culmination of weeks of investigations into brazen corruption at the Judiciary. Even though to the naked eye it seemed like a normal investigation of graft, insiders believed it was part of a plot to get rid of Ms Mwilu from the Judiciary as she was seen as a threat to a number of political leaders with 2022 ambitions.With Chief Justice Maraga retiring before 2022, Mwilu is likely to be the Chief Justice.
Today’s quashing of the graft cases which were leveled against her is a reprieve.Turns out, the DCI used unorthodox means to gain access to evidence which they presented against the DCJ in court, technically making the entire case a sham.The five judge bench comprising of justices Hellen Omondi, William Musyoka, Mumbi Ngugi, Chacha Mwita and Francis Tuiyot ruled that Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji lacked the legal basis to indict judge Mwilu as the evidence was illegally obtained.It added that Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) violated her rights to privacy when they gained access to her Imperial Bank Ltd (IBL) accounts without following the due process.