We will not take cases to court just for the sake of it, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has said.
Amid mounting accusations that the DPP has failed to put on trial high-profile cases, Haji reiterated that the ODPP, under his leadership, will only pursue cases that have evidence, are water-tight, and have high chances of conviction.
“I will not play to the gallery just to make people happy with a matter that I know is going nowhere. I will not lie to Kenyans,” he said.
Speaking during an interview with KBC Channel 1 TV, Haji indicated that his office currently has quite a number of corruption-related cases in court. He says he is burning the midnight oil to conclude the said cases.
And the DPP is convinced that if these cases were to be concluded, the impact will be felt much more by the Kenyan public.
“This will make people understand how serious the government is in fighting this menace (corruption). And also understand the consequences of being involved in corruption. We are on the right track,” he said.
Asked why there has been no prosecution, for instance, in the KEMSA scandal involving more than Kshs.7.8 billion and which some of the country’s known business tycoons, politicians, and connected individuals benefited, Haji was categorical that there are no cases he was afraid of prosecuting. He insists that a lot is happening behind the scenes and Kenyans may not be aware.
“The public has been made to believe that we don’t want to prosecute those cases. We are not ready. When we are, we will prosecute. The evidence must be of a certain nature for us to say this is money that has been lost and these are the people with that money,” he explained
The DPP revealed that after reviewing the files, his office realized that there were a number of areas that needed to be addressed for it to be able to prove to court beyond reasonable doubt that the individuals mention indeed took the money. He further indicated that officers in his office needed to establish the money trail, before going public on the monies they sought to recover and how they were going to recover it.
“It must be evidence that we feel is of value to make us succeed against the most culpable individuals,” he said
Asked why he had closed some files against the wishes of members of the public, Haji said some of the cases involving some individuals that have been withdrawn were closed with ‘good reason,’
He argues that the reasons to withdraw have been explained in court and the courts have concurred with his office. He was however quick to point out that if new evidence was to be availed on any case; he was always free to reopen the files.
“I don’t believe in putting timelines because I understand the complexity of certain cases. For instance, if we’re depending on other jurisdictions and countries to help us get the evidence, how do I place a timeframe?” he posed.
Since he took office, Haji says the office of DPP has prosecuted a number of high-profile cases and modernized its systems and processes.
“One of the hindrances was we used to rush to give consent. Now we don’t do that anymore. We have the decision to charge guidelines that assist both the prosecutor and the investigator to understand what is required of them before a case is brought in.”
“We have therefore brought standardization and quality in the kind of cases that we are taking to court,” he said.
He says the reforms instituted during his tenure have helped in ensuring that cases that are brought before the court are strong and that they will withstand time and are most likely to get a high rate of convictions.