Kenya Magistrates and Judges Association has condemned the arrest and charging of Mombasa Principal Magistrate Kagoni Matsigulu over alleged heroin exhibit theft.
Matsigulu was arrested by Directorate of Criminal Investigations officers on Friday, September 6, 2019, over the loss of approximately 10kg of heroin valued at Sh30 million in July 2018.
“The allegations against him related to his ordinary course of work and duty as a magistrate. He was not afforded any police bond despite being a magistrate and having shown no signs to abscond. Unknown to his lawyers, colleagues and or/family members, our brother was clandestinely ferried to Nairobi to face criminal charges,” claimed the judicial officers body KMJA.
On Tuesday, Matsigulu secured his freedom after filing a petition seeking to stop his prosecution over the alleged theft.
The court freed him on Sh20,000 cash bail or Sh100,000 bond with a surety of similar amount pending determination of his application.
“It is for this reason that his lawyers successfully obtained orders directing that Kagoni be immediately released on bond pending hearing of his application. The orders of the High Court were duly served upon the OCS, JKIA Police Station, who refused to release our brother for unknown reasons,” said KMJA.
The magistrates and judges lobby says the prosecution of their colleague is a brazen attack on the independence of the Judiciary and judicial officers by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions.
“This amounts to criminalisation of judicial work. We find this to amount to intimidation of members of the bench by the DPP and the police…We hasten to add that these unfortunate attacks attributed to the aforementioned offices are not new. There is a bad narrative to paint Judges and Magistrates in bad light.,” said KMJA in a statement to newsrooms on Tuesday.
KMJA Secretary-General Derrick Kuto said there is a narrative to paint judges and magistrates in bad light.