Former judge charged with theft of Sh6.8m from client

Robert Mugo Mutitu

Former judge Robert Mugo Mutitu was removed from the Judiciary over corruption in 2003, during the era of former Chief Justice Evan Gicheru.

Photo credit: Dennis Oosongo | Nation media Group

Former Judge Robert Mugo Mutitu has been charged with theft of Sh6.8 million from a client.

The former judge, who was axed from the Judiciary in 2003 during the judicial purge that saw 23 judges leave the bench unceremoniously, did not plead to the two charges of conspiracy to defraud and theft.

During his time in the Judiciary, Mr Mutitu presided over the murder case of Tony Ndilinge, the Kilome MP killed in 2001, and the Kyanguli fire victims case against two students.

Mr Mutitu, through defence lawyer Karathe Wandugi sought to be indulged for 14 days so that he can reach an out of court settlement with the complainant.

In the charge presented before Milimani Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo, Mr Mutitu, jointly with his legal partner John Njoroge Thiong’o, has been charged with conspiring to defraud Ms Jane Wangui Wahome of Sh6,850,000 pretending they would buy her a parcel of land within Nairobi County.

The offences were committed on diverse dates between April 22 and May 19, 2021.

"I urge this court to indulge the accused, who is a former judge, to conclude negotiations of resolving this matter which is civil in nature," the lawyer stated.

Alternative dispute resolution

Mr Wandugi told the court that the Constitution encourages alternative dispute resolution to avoid clogging of cases in court.

The lawyer further stated that the prosecution rushed the former judge to the criminal court instead of referring the dispute to the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) disciplinary committee.

Mr Wandugi told the magistrate that the accused has been practising law for many years and knows the consequences of meddling with clients’ property.

However, State Prosecutor Anderson Gikunda opposed the application to defer plea taking, arguing that the matter had dragged on and the complainant’s desire was to have it determined.

In her ruling, Ms Kagendo allowed the accused request for deferment of plea taking to allow him to resolve the dispute. She directed the matter to be mentioned on July 6, either to take plea or terminate the case.

The former judge was released on a bond of Sh500,000 or a cash bail of Sh100,000, awaiting further directions.

The magistrate also issued a summons for Mr Thiong’o to attend court on July 6.

Mr Mutitu was removed from the Judiciary over corruption in 2003, during the era of former Chief Justice Evan Gicheru.

A committee led by former Court of Appeal judge Aaron Ringera and Justice Wanjiru Karanja saw more than 23 judges and magistrates exit the judiciary over corruption and misconduct.

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