The Anti-Corruption and Economic Crime Division in the judiciary as well as the Practice Directions guiding the prosecution of economic crimes in Kenya were launched Thursday morning at the Milimani Courts by the Chef Justice, Judge David Maranga in the presence of the Attorney General and other senior ranking officials who are involved in the fight against graft.
The establishment of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crime Division is aimed at ensuring effective case management and expeditious disposal of cases involving corruption and economic crimes while the proper functioning of the division will be fundamental to the success of combating corruption in the country.
The Chief Justice while launching the Practice Directions or guidelines stated that courts would no longer entertain stay orders and adjournments as these were aimed at delaying the course of justice.
He further confirmed that plans were underway to establish an International and Organized Crime Division that would try selected criminal cases.
Justice Maranga was categorical that blame game in the fight against corruption must end and stated the need for thorough investigations as well as submission of evidence as being critical in the successful prosecution and completion of cases.
On his part, Attorney General, Professor Githu Muigai observed that the launch of the Practice Directions for the Division was expected to accelerate the conclusion of the criminal and corruption cases before courts.
“These Practice Directions are the result of a consultative process between the entire Criminal justice system and the legal practice whose aim is purging corruption from our society.
The issuance of these Practice Directions will undoubtedly accelerate the conclusion of the matters before Court,” the Government Legal Advisor stated.
Kenya has continued to grapple with the negative impact of corruption and economic crimes that ravages the social, economic, legal, political and cultural fabric of the society.
These vices have undermined democracy and the rule of law in Kenya. These have further violated fundamental human rights and freedoms of Kenyans, distorted markets, eroded the quality of life and allowed organized-crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish.
Meanwhile the Government of Kenya continues to take deliberate measures to establish and facilitate the legal and institutional framework to combat corruption and economic crimes.
As part of these efforts The President established a Multi-Agency Team (MAT), that brings together investigation and prosecution, tax administration, asset tracing and recovery under one cohesive framework.
The MAT comprises officials from the National Intelligence Service, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, National Police Service, Financial Reporting Centre, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Wildlife Service and Immigration department.
The Assets Recovery Agency established under Section 53 of the Proceeds of Crime and Anti Money Laundering Act No. 9 of 2009 (POCAMLA) started its operations last year.
The Agency is currently involved in identifying, freezing and seizing of assets worth millions of shillings, which are proceeds of crime with a view of combating money laundering. The Agency’s functioning is enhanced by the Mutual Legal Assistance and the Central Authority to support the full functioning of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crime Division.
The Attorney General stressed that the cardinal rule and expectation of the Kenyan public was that all agencies and citizens had a solemn duty and honour to assist the courts in the expeditious disposal of cases by providing all the evidence.
He urged legal practioners “not to clog the system with unnecessary adjournments, and technical objections of law but instead adhere to the truism that Justice delayed is Justice denied.”
The presiding Judge of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Division is Lady Justice Helen Ong’undi.
Other officials attending the launch ceremony included, Deputy Chief Justice, Lady Justice Philomena Mwilu, Director of Public Prosecution, Mr. Keriako Tobiko, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Mr. Halakhe Waqo, Governor of The Central Bank, Dr. Patrick Njoroge, as well as the Principal Judge of the High Court, Justice Richard Mwongo.