Kenyan court halts criminal action against deputy chief justice

The criminal trial of a Kenyan top judge has been temporarily halted by the country's High Court on Wednesday.

Deputy chief justice Philomena Mwilu was arrested by police on Tuesday and charged on suspicion of corruption, failure to pay taxes and improper dealings with a local bank.

Judge Chacha Mwita said the case raised constitutional issues.

Mwita said: "I allow the
application filed by deputy chief justice (Philomena Mwilu) seeking to stop proceedings in the lower court and I hereby grant a stay, meaning stopping the case."

"The charges facing the deputy chief justice are over a commercial transaction between her and a private institution ... the court needs to determine whether that amounts to a criminal offence."

Deputy chief justice Philomena Mwilu was released on Tuesday evening hours after being arrested, on a personal bond of 5 million Kenyan shillings ($49,640).

Speaking to a news conference, Noordin Mohamed Haji, a Public prosecutor said the deputy chief justice had abused her office for personal gain, undermining public integrity in the judiciary.

He added that he believed evidence against her was sufficient for "a reasonable prospect of conviction"

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