23 January 2019

Kenya: Bench of Five to Rule on Appointment of British Lawyer in Mwilu's Case

A bench of five judges will this morning decide on whether or not to allow Professor Khawar Qureshi to be lead counsel in a case involving Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu.

Justices Helen Omondi, Mumbi Ngugi, Francis Tuiyot, William Musyoka and Chacha Mwita will also rule on an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji, seeking to bar senators James Orengo and Okong'o Omogeni from representing Justice Mwilu.

Justice Mwilu, who obtained orders stopping her intended trial, challenged the appointment of Queen's Counsel Prof Qureshi, arguing that the appointment was irregular and unconstitutional.

During the hearing, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki defended Prof Khawar's appointment arguing that all the procedures were followed. He said the AG's powers to make such an appointment cannot be questioned and the court has no authority to substitute those powers.

A letter tabled in court written by Chief Registrar Anne Amadi said there were no other compliance requirements for Prof Qureshi after being issued with a practicing certificate.

Ms Amadi wrote the letter on January 14 after Mr Haji, through Secretary of Public Prosecutions Dorcas Oduor, made an inquiry on January 9.

The Attorney-General, through Mr Emmanuel Bita, said Justice Mwilu and her lawyers had failed to point out the illegality in the appointment or how she will suffer if Prof Qureshi is allowed to represent the DPP.

Mr Haji reiterated that Prof Qureshi met the criteria for appointment and there was no evidence that he was not qualified.


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