Judges Take Action After Muchelule, Chitembwe Arrest

High Court Judges Said Juma Chitembwe (left) and Aggrey Muchelule
High Court Judges Said Juma Chitembwe (left) and Aggrey Muchelule.

UPDATE Friday, July 23: The High Court has issued orders barring the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI from arresting Judges Aggrey Muchelule and Said Chitembwe.

This is after Kenya Judges and Magistrates Association (KJMA), through lawyers Danstan Omari and Cliff Ombeta, filed a petition arguing that their arrest was illegal.

The two judges had been arrested on Thursday afternoon, July 22, after being accused of accepting bribes.

Kenya Judges and Magistrates Association (KJMA) has moved to court to stop any further arrest of High Court Judges Aggrey Muchelule and Said Chitembwe.

According to court papers filed on the morning of Friday, July 23, the association sought to have police barred from arresting the two judges as well as their subordinates.

Lawyers Danstan Omari and Cliff Ombeta, who are representing the association certified the matter urgent arguing that the two judges are judicial officers and have been a bastion of justice since taking office.

"This Honourable Court be and is hereby pleased to issue a conservatory order forthwith retraining the 1st and 2nd respondent, their agents, servants or assistants from arresting, harrassing, arraigning and /or charging the interested parties  Justice Aggrey Muchelule and Justice Said Juma Chitembwe until the hearing and determination of this humble application," read the statement in part.

Lawyer Danstan Omari outside the Milimani Law Courts, Nairobi, in 2019.
Lawyer Danstan Omari outside the Milimani Law Courts, Nairobi, in 2019.
Danstan Omari

The petition also sought to have the two judges barred from taking a plea until the case is heard and determined.

The two were arrested on the afternoon of Thursday, July 22, after being accused of taking a bribe from a respondent in part of the cases they were tasked to determine.

The two were nabbed during a raid of their offices before being transferred to DCI headquarters located along Kiambu Road.

They were arrested alongside their drivers as well as secretaries. One of the judges reportedly pocketed a bribe of Ksh5 million in a case that was to be determined on Thursday, July 22.

The other was accused of receiving a piece of land related to a case he determined

Speaking to the press outside Milimani Law Courts, Omari questioned why the DCI raided the chambers of the two without the consent of the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions.

"The basis of our filing of the petition is that in the decided case of the DCJ  Mwilu, the judges were very categorical that when an issue arises touching on Judges of the High Court, that matter should be first dealt with the JSC before the police decide to arrest.

"Still, the judges were arrested... The judiciary is under attack, there was no evidence to warrant an arrest. We hope the constitutional court will agree with us and make clear orders that the two judges will not be arrested," lamented Omari.

Muchelule and Chitembwe were grilled at the DCI headquarters for two hours.

Below is a clip of Lawyer Cliff Ombeta at Milimani Law Courts:

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