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Maraga spoils party for suspects wearing hoodies in court

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Chief Justice David Maraga has called on all judges to ensure that suspects who appear before them can be identified after Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) tax collusion suspects caught the attention of the public this week after they appeared in court dressed to conceal their identities.

In a statement dated May 17, the Chief Justice advised the judges to protect the reputation of the courts by ensuring they do not  perpetuate impunity by ‘egregious behaviour’ by suspects.

“It has come to my attention that of late, suspects taken to court to face various criminal charges have taken to hiding their identity by wearing dark glasses with hoodies to make them unidentifiable,”

“While the right to privacy must be respected at all times, the due process of administration of justice may well be hampered if suspects in criminal matters are not easily identifiable and connected physically to the charges they are facing especially while taking plea,” reads the statement.

Last week, the taxman interdicted 75 senior and mid level members of its staff suspected to be serial facilitators of tax evasion.

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The suspects were hauled in court on Monday this week clad in grey hoodies and sunglasses making it near impossible to establish their identities.

Consequently, the episode generated massive debate on twitter with Kenyans asking why the suspects were allowed to conceal their identities and where they got the apparel from.

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This is not the first time that the issue is generating debate, in December last year, Kenyans also questioned why six former Ambira Secondary School students who recorded themselves insulting Cabinet Secretaries Amina Mohammed and Fred Matiang’i were allowed to conceal their identities when they were arraigned in court.

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