Haji accuses government officers of usurping his role
Differences between the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji and his Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) counterpart George Kinoti have escalated after the former insisted he would not be intimidated by government officers keen on taking over his roles constitutionally given to him.
The DPP in an apparent response to Kinoti, who has accused him of failing to prosecute corruption cases worth billions of shillings, warned him against overstepping his constitutional mandate by taking up roles belonging to other government agencies.
Haji noted that it was unfortunate that the image of his office, which he has served for the last 10 years, is now tainted because of the unhealthy disagreements with other government agencies.
“Each partner’s role is equally important, however, the image created in recent times reveals that of national tension, due to the trend of over-stepping the boundaries of each as stipulated in the Constitution no one should over-step their mandate,” he said.
Lack of goodwill
Haji stated that he would not relent in the fight against crime in the country despite lack of goodwill among partners.
“Despite the differences among ourselves, we must encourage dialogue and we will not be cowed. Some of us have served in the frontline in Somalia fighting al Shabab.
l will do the same as long as I know I am serving my country. Unity has to be exercised by respecting and having goodwill from all of us,” he said.
Haji was speaking during the launch of National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ) 2021/26 Strategic Plan where he said despite the interferences, the Judiciary would have the final say.
“It’s the pen that decides, it’s the Judiciary that decides even when the sword is seen to be in control. l can assure you the next DPP will come more stronger, than where I will have left,” he said
Haji expressed fear that some of the partners who he closely worked with had continued to overstep mandates of others with no goodwill to eliminate crime in the country.
He, however, made it clear that he will perform his duties in accordance with the Constitution by putting aside unnecessary arguments in delivering justice.
“I will not become the cheetah in the animal kingdom that keeps on telling the donkey and insisting the grass is blue, l will stand and be guided by the Constitution since we all know the grass is green,” said Haji.
Speaking at the same function, Chief Justice Martha Koome, who chairs the NCAJ, said there has been a cold war between the two partners and thus called for truce between them to resolve the growing tension.
“We need to know what is really happening, we need to find a way to resolve the tension by having a cure within the NCAJ system, by looking at it this way, we will be promoting the interest of all Kenyans,” she said.
European Ambassador to Kenya Henriette Geiger said that NCAJs strategic plan exemplified commitment to change, improve service delivery and justice reforms in the country.
While the DPP appears to be passing the blame to the DCI on the quality of investigations, it bears noting that this is only a recent and sudden development; the DPP has prosecuted and referred back so many cases before, to be investigated by the DCI.
Passing the blame
The escalating feud between DCI and the ODPP could result in high profile cases dropped and suspects go scot free since the latter has refused to prosecute them in court.
Kinoti and Haji have been at loggerheads over the way cases were being treated by the ODPP. Most of the cases have either stalled or have been dropped altogether.
Among the key files, the DCI has noted is that of the murder of Tob Cohen where his widow Sarah Wairimu is facing charges but the DPP is yet to prosecute.
The other file is that of former National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich where he is charged with engaging in a project without prior planning involving Sh20.5 billion.
Investigations on the case started in September 2018 and the file forwarded to the DPP in May 2019, prosecution is still pending, and the accused are expected to appear in court today for the amendment of the charges.