Ex-CJ Willy Mutunga slams Babu Owino bail ruling
Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has criticised a ruling where a magistrate’s court released Embakasi East MP Babu Owino on a Sh10million bond, to be paid in instalments.
He said there was no law that called for a suspect to deposit bail money, which would at the same time be used to offset a victim’s medical fee.
Milimani Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi released the MP on a Sh10 million cash bail to be paid in Sh2.5 million instalments in his case over the shooting of a DJ.
On Monday evening, the court said the money would be used to settle the hospital bills of victim DJ Evolve, whose real name is Felix Odhiambo Orinda.
The Sh10 million will be paid to the court in four instalments of Sh2.5 million each. The money will be used to clear all the bills the DJ will incur in the best medical facilities until he recovers fully.
The facilities will make claims through the court.
Addressing students at Kenya Methodist University where he gave a keynote address, Dr Mutunga said the ruling put the judiciary on the spot and could erode confidence in the eyes of the public.
He at the same time said that there was grumbling among members of public over seemingly selective war on corruption, citing the multi-billion NYS scandal.
“What happened to the NYS case so that some can be charged and others be treated as witnesses?” he posed.
He, however, shielded Mr Owino from attack by members of public, saying every case must undergo trial, despite the evidence.
Reacting to students who wanted to know why murder suspects were granted bond, Dr Mutunga said all suspects, irrespective of their crimes, deserved fair hearing and undergo due process of the case.
“The Constitution says that one is innocent until proven guilty, evidence has to be brought to court and heard. Even if you are guilty in the eyes of public opinion. Unless we try someone the right way, we will set bad precedence,” he said.
Dr Mutunga also called for increased budget for the judiciary so that it can expedite cases without falling to state capture.
He said during his tenure, the government increased allocation from Sh3billion to Sh21billion, a factor that helped judiciary employ more staff and build more courts.
“Independence of judiciary is built around the institution itself, it should have finances, integrity and stand up against influence from Parliament and the Executive. I can tell you that when I was CJ, my independence was tested seriously by various leaders from the Kamba community. When you are there, your community thinks that is their post,” he recounted.
Dr Mutunga said only five percent of Kenyans went to court, perhaps as an indication of the trust they have in alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
He encouraged members of public to effect citizens’ arrests when they feel senior individuals flouted rules, recounting how vigilant members of public arrested police officers taking bribe during the days of Narc regime.
“When they were looking for Matiang’i, some citizens could have arrested him for violating a court order. Of course it is very dangerous but you become a hero,” said Dr Mutunga.