The Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association has filed a petition to protest police action against Judges Aggrey Muchelule and Said Chitembwe.
In the protest, the Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association has filed a petition association filed a petition in court Friday, July 23, 2021, condemning the arrest and interrogation of the two judges by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations.
Lawyers Cliff Ombeta, Danstan Omari, and Shadrack Wambui, representing the association, said the action amounted to an attack on the Judiciary’s independence.
They said the DCI detectives who raided offices of the two judges did not produce a court order or warrant to apprehend them.
The detectives are reported to have conducted a search in the chambers of the judges that yielded nothing before they were taken to the DCI headquarters before they were released unconditionally.
The lawyers said “a judge cannot be arrested without the involvement of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) who is their employer.
The petition by the association was filed before Justice Antony Mrima of the constitutional court.
The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has denied reports that his agency sanctioned the arrest or questioning of judges.
In a statement, Haji said that his office “is not aware of circumstances that led to the arrest or questioning of the two Judges; neither has his office received any investigation files on the matter.”
The claim had been made by Law Society of Kenya (LSK) Nairobi Chairman Eric Theuri, but there has been no word from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
During Thursday’s arrest, the two judges were accompanied by their clerks and support staff who were also released unconditionally.
Haji, however, said that in the event, the files on the matter are presented to him for advice, he will direct them as appropriate.
Lawyer Danstan Omari who is representing Muchelule claims that the two judges were arrested on grounds of being implicated in a corruption case and grilled at DCI headquarters for two hours before being set free.
“There was a conviction that money was planted in his office, they did a search but no money was found. Thank God Muchelule never moved outside his office,” said Omari.
Justice Muchelule has termed the arrest an insult to the independence of the Judiciary.
Justice Muchelule was among the four High Court judges whose promotion to the appellate court was rejected by President Uhuru Kenyatta over alleged integrity issues. He is currently attached to the Family Division.
Justice Chitembwe was among judges and lawyers who were interviewed for the position of Chief Justice to succeed David Maraga in April.