DCI claims Sh6m seized during raid on two High Court judges

Friday, July 30th, 2021 00:00 |
Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti addresses a past press conference. Photo/PD/File

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti now claims that his officers seized more than Sh6 million during the raid on two High Court judges in their chambers last week.

In what seems like a change of tune, the DCI has alleged that a total of $50,000 was seized from unidentified woman who was in Justice Aggrey Muchelule’s Chamber 230 during the search.

Besides, he claims, at least $7,000 was seized from Justice Said Chitembwe, the occupant of Chamber 233, who is alleged to have facilitated the meeting.

“The DCI had received intelligence on July 21 at 3pm that after a series of meetings between certain judges and the brokers a Sh7 million bribe had been agreed upon and it was to be delivered to the residence of a judge at 7pm,” an affidavit filed in court yesterday by Chief Inspector Felix Karisa Banzi on behalf of the DCI reads in part.

Banzi, who is the investigating officer of the corruption case facing the two judges, revealed in the court papers that the time and venue of the exchange was abruptly changed.

Court order

According to him, the alleged meeting was rescheduled to July 22 at 7.45 am at Chamber 233 within Milimani Law Courts.

The revelations are part of the defense filed by the DCI in a case where Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association (KMJA) challenged the arrest of the two judicial officers.

Last week, the High Court issued orders restraining the DCI and DPP from arresting and further recommending charges against them pending hearing and determination of the case.

One of the grounds by KMJA challenging the arrest of the duo is that the DCI failed to secure a court order before carrying out the search.

But sleuths have defended themselves saying given the sudden changes, it was impractical to obtain a court order to carry out the search even as he dismissed allegations that the two judges were arrested.

KMJA had on Friday petitioned the court following their arrest, search and requirement to record statements over what they termed as baseless prospective charges likely to be levelled against the two judges.

“It is clear that the impugned criminal proceedings have been commenced with an ulterior motive and are malicious,” KMJA chairperson Derrick Kutto said in a press statement, adding that the arrest of the two judges was an orchestrated attack by the State meant to embarrass the judges.

KJMA noted that the move by the State was a pattern of attacks directed at the individual judges and the same was an affront to the decisional independence of the judges and the rule of law.

Pending judgements

In his defense Banzi, held that detectives laid an ambush at the area from 7.30am to 2pm when they were informed the exchange would take place at Muchelule’s Chamber 230.

It’s following the search in Justice Muchelule’s chamber that the woman was found with $50,000 and Justice Chitembwe had $7,000, DCI responded.

He noted that Justice Muchelule was on his way to deliver pending judgments, while Justice Chitembwe was attending to a law student when detectives stormed their offices that are just a wall apart and arrested them.

Banzi said in light of the foregoing discoveries, the two judges and other persons of interest within the chambers were requested to accompany the officers of the DCI to their offices for the purpose of interview and statement recording aimed at assisting further with the investigations.

The DCI has further denied harassing the persons including the judges saying that they treated them with courtesy.

Banzi disclosed in the court papers that he has been investigating complaints where select judges and judicial officers have been accused of corruption.

“I received information and complaints that indicated some persons acting as brokers, had approached select judges and judicial officers with a view of procuring favorable judgments and rulings in various matters,” the court papers says.

According to Banzi, it is pursuant to the complaints received by several persons, investigations were opened against the named judges.

At the same time, Kinoti has defended his office from claims that his officers were harassing and intimidating judicial officers saying he was undertaking lawful and legitimate investigations into grave allegations related to corruption.

“The application herein is an attempt to stifle and frustrate the DCI in performance of his constitutional mandate,” he says in the court papers and urged the court to dismiss the application by the two judges for lack of merit.

Yesterday, Justice Antony Mrima extended the orders barring prosecution of the judges and directing the DPP to file their responses within 15 days and serve all parties.

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