Justice Patrick Jeremy Otieno, who in January this year subjected the Judiciary into disarray after issuing orders restraining Deputy Chief Justice Mwilu from occupying her office and discharging her duties as acting Chief Justice, has recused himself from acting in the abuse of office case against the latter.
The Meru High Court Judge announced on Wednesday that he had stepped down from hearing the matter after Justice Mwilu’s lawyers alleged that he had mismanaged the case seeking the removal of their client from office.
The lawyers include Julie Soweto and the Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi.
Justice Otieno referred the matter to the presiding judge at Meru High Court to assign it to another court.
In orders that sparked debate on social media over their legality, Justice Otieno had on January 29 also barred Mwilu from serving as a member of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
The judge further restrained Justice Mwilu from occupying the office of the Judiciary Ombudsman pending the determination of a case filed by lawyer Isaiah Mwongela.
The judge later lifted the orders following protest from the defence team.
“A judge cannot issue an injunction restraining another Judge from acting. Besides, Justice Mrima dismissed a similar case. Only two explanations for this; the deep state has a lot of dirt on Justice PJ Otieno and has banked a post-dated cheque given to it or the order is a fraud,” said Havi.
The petitioner has accused Mwilu of manipulating the case by choosing the forum where her case will be heard.
“Considering the heat this case has generated, the interests and stakes involved, I feel that the DCJ is out to manipulate the case by choosing the forum where her case will be heard just because she can,” Mwongela told The Star.
Mwongela said the accused legal team had threatened to file a complaint against the JSC where Mwilu is a member.
In his petition, Mwongela argues that Mwilu is unfit to serve in the Judiciary over alleged gross misconduct.
She is accused of improperly benefiting from Sh12 million loan from collapsed Imperial Bank.