Senators James Orengo and Okong’o Omogeni fought dirty by failing to disclose to the High Court that they had questioned the appointment of senior British lawyer Khawar Qureshi during a Senate Committee sitting, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has claimed.
Mr Haji, in seeking to bar the two senators from defending Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, argues that they should have at least informed the High Court of their involvement in the committee proceedings.
He adds that their participation in issues surrounding his appointment of Mr Qureshi at the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee on December 5 is a clear conflict of interest, more so because they said nothing about it a day later when they appeared before the High Court to defend Justice Mwilu.
The two senators sat in the Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee where Mr Qureshi’s appointment was discussed.
Mr Haji claims that the two senators also asked him questions during the December 5 sitting.
Hansard excerpts filed in court show that the Qureshi debate was sparked by Nakuru senator Susan Kihika, who questioned whether the DPP’s move is a sign that he does not have faith in local prosecutors.
But Mr Haji argued that several senior advocates that would have been ideal for the prosecution were either already representing Justice Mwilu or were simply uncomfortable pursuing the DCJ.
Neither Mr Orengo nor Mr Omogeni have responded to the application to kick them out of the case, but only because it was filed on Friday.
The DPP hired Mr Qureshi on December 4 to pursue abuse of office, forgery and tax evasion charges against Justice Mwilu.
The DCJ has obtained temporary orders barring her prosecution until a High Court petition she filed challenging the move is determined.
The petition is pending before Justices Helen Omondi, Mumbi Ngugi, Francis Tuiyot, William Musyoka and Chacha Mwita.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
She was to be charged alongside lawyer Stanley Muluvi Kiima, who helped her in a number of land transactions that were done through the collapsed Imperial Bank.
Investigators believe that Mr Kiima aided the DCJ in the disputed land deals.
Mrs Mwilu has challenged Mr Qureshi’s presence in the suit, arguing that he is not qualified to practice in Kenya.
“There is a clear conflict of interest by participating… and appearing before this honourable court the following day after the Multi-Agency Task Team appearance before the Senate Committee, and further both senators actively participating in providing oversight to the ODPP,” assistant DPP Lillian Ogwora says in court papers.
Mr Haji wants the five judges to determine whether prosecution of a sitting judge over criminal matters is an affront to the Judiciary’s independence.