Philomena Mwilu, Kalpana Rawal, Nancy Baraza: Is Deputy CJ position jinxed?
Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu was arrested on Tuesday afternoon over allegations of corruption involving the collapsed Imperial Bank.
She becomes the third office holder to be implicated in a controversial case that puts her tenure in jeopardy.
In 2012, Kenya’s first ever Deputy CJ under the new Constitution, Nancy Baraza, was found guilty of gross misconduct after she waved a gun at a security guard.
The tribunal investigating the incident that occurred at the Village Market Mall, recommended that Baraza be removed from office for “inability to control her behavior.”
She tried to fight the unanimous decision by lodging a complaint at the Supreme Court but would later resign on October 18, 2012 citing lack of confidence in the five-judge bench.
Baraza had served as deputy CJ for only seven months.
On February 22, 2013, Kalpana Rawal, was nominated to replace Baraza with the Judicial Service Commission saying she was the most experienced candidate.
Rawal, Kenya’s first female lawyer, was then vetted by Parliament and appointed by the then President Mwai Kibaki as the country’s second Deputy CJ.
She was sworn in on June 3, 2013 to deputize CJ Willy Mutunga.
However, her feat was short-lived when the famous Panama Papers linked her family to questionable offshore accounts in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven.
The 2016 revelation cast her tenure into turmoil even as Rawal maintained that she had resigned as a director from the named companies.e
As if this wasn’t enough, the JSC served her with a retirement notice citing the Constitution that requires judges of the Supreme Court to leave office upon attaining the age of 70.
She also moved to the Supreme Court alongside Philip Tunoi seeking to remain in office.
Her bid was however thwarted on June 14, 2016 after the Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal verdict that they must retire.
Justice Philomena Mwilu would then replace Rawal on October 28, 2016.