NASA STATEMENT ON THE NOORDIN HAJI’S DPP AND THE WAR ON CORRUPTION
OUR JUDICIARY MUST RISE TO THE OCCASION
It is now almost 1 year since the appointment of Noordin Haji as the Director of Public Prosecution. While his appointment came as a surprise to many at the time owing to the fact that very little was known of him as a person, he has slowly distinguished himself as a person finally able to slay the dragon of corruption and impunity in Kenya.
The DPP has managed to inject a certain modicum of discipline and balance in the conduct of investigation and prosecution, bringing a record number of high profile cases to court including the NYS cases, a number of governors, head of parastatals including former CEO of KPLC, other officers of KPLC and other parastatals.
In this regard, we would like the DPP to move with speed to initiate investigations and, if that has been commenced, to quickly arraign in court the persons who are responsible for the plunder of public resources at the Kenya Pipeline Company, including the immediate former Managing Director Mr. Joe Sang.
We also urge the DPP to urgently conclude and arraign in court the perpetrators of the maize scandal that has seen maize farmers fleeced of their hard earned money.
We also note that the DPP is taking steps to deal with question of asset recovery and in which regard he has engaged the services of the Queen’s Counsel namely Mr. Qureishi (QC) who is a qualified counsel in prosecution of graft cases.
Of particular note is that section 30 of the ODPP Act, as read with Section 11 of the Advocates Act allows the DPP to appoint foreign advocates/counsel to act in any specified case or matter. Further, this is in line with Art 157 (9) which permits the DPP to issue special instructions to any officers qualified.
However, we are getting increasingly concerned about the conduct of the Judiciary in this war on corruption and impunity.
We are concerned about the emerging practice by the courts to conduct themselves in ways that appear to contradict the stated position of the Chief Justice to support the war against corruption and impunity.
The Judiciary is becoming the weakest link in the war on corruption and impunity.
There are instances when the court has issued rulings against the DPP’s quest to have high profile personalities facing charges to step aside while the criminal cases against them proceed.
The DPP has a strong case in demanding that such persons temporarily stay out of office and even forgo pay because the office and the pay give them the power to interfere with the cases, intimidate witnesses and, in some cases, the means to compromise the justice system.
This tendency, if continued, will negatively affect the war against corruption and impunity in the country.
Secondly, the other possible impediment or bottleneck which the DPP must grapple with is the loss of momentum and focus on the issue of lifestyle audit. On this, we must direct blame at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption commission, which in spite of the President’s directive, has failed, neglected or omitted to take and or publicize any action that it has taken on the issue of lifestyle audit.
It must be appreciated that the fight against corruption is anchored on four pillars led by office of the DPP, EACC, DCI and, most significantly, the Judiciary.
As the country grapples with the war on corruption, the very institution established by the constitution to wage the war on corruption remains in deep slumber. The EACC continues to operate in an opaque manner with no clear sense of direction or purpose. Despite mega corruption cases being reported in state offices, the EACC has not nailed any high profile case to date that is worth talking about. It must be remembered that EACC receives billions of tax payers’ money every year to help fund its activities but there are no results to write home about. It is even more riveting that EACC despite engaging in high profile raids and purporting to collect crucial documents has not preferred any charges against any high profile state officers.
They undertake these missions to merely bluff the nation about their mandate.
We challenge the current leadership at EACC to rise to the occasion and help salvage public funds.
The war on corruption must remain the highest calling of our time if we are to bequeath anything to our children and their children. We have no alternatives; we must wage this war resolutely and without fear or favor
While investigations and evidence processing lies in realm of the first three institutions, the biggest responsibility lies with the Judiciary based on the manner in which it evaluates evidence, balances the probity of sustaining the war on corruption against the rights of suspects to bail while guided at all times by public interest.
The manner in which the Judiciary handles corruption suspects will determine the trajectory this war takes. As it stands, the conscience of the country is restless.
What message does the judiciary send to the country when persons facing economic and capital offense charges are easily granted bail and are busy gallivanting across the country threatening witnesses, retaining access to offices and resources and unleashing the same to undermine the court processes?
As a nation, we must demand of our Judiciary to rise to the occasion and help the country in confronting the scourge of corruption and impunity that is threatening the very existence of this nation. We have no doubt that our judicial officers are competent enough to help infuse more firepower in the fight against corruption if they mean business.
We are reminding them, it is time to mean business! Your country needs you, the future generations are looking up to you to help secure an inheritance for them!
The Judiciary must rise up to the calling and save this country.