The nominee for the post of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has vowed to deal with the 'big fish', who have been evading justice due to their deep pockets and influence in the society.
Mr Noordin Mohamed Haji, who was being vetted on Monday by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly, said he will prosecute all criminals equally, if he gets the position.
This was in response to MPs’ concerns that prominent Kenyans always get away with their crimes.
“It is true that the big fish have money and can afford good lawyers to represent them and delay their cases for a long time and eventually justice is not served. I will have a meeting with the Judiciary to address this,” Mr Haji said.
One of the strategies he plans to employ is the rotation of prosecutors handling the cases of prominent personalities.
Mr Haji, son of Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji, said the Constitution will be his guiding principle and not politics.
“I am not here because I am the son of Senator Haji but because of hard work and integrity that have been part of my life,” Mr Haji said.
An advocate of the High Court of Kenya for 19 years and currently a deputy director of the National Intelligence Service, Mr Haji lamented that the country’s criminal justice system favours the rich, a matter he said he will take up with the Judiciary.
His skills as an investigator, security analyst and advocate puts him in a vantage position to discharge his mandate as DPP, said the nominee who was born on July 3, 1973.
“I have been nominated to this position at a pivotal moment in our country as it faces new and sophisticated crimes such cybercrime which, if not checked, will threaten our peace,” Mr Haji said.
He pointed out that the low conviction rate in corruption cases was due to lack of prosecutors. Both the investigators and prosecutors are also poorly paid, he added.
“There is no way a prosecutor who is paid peanuts can successfully investigate cases involving billions of shillings. Suspects take advantage of this and bribe the prosecutors to either drop the charges or present weak evidence that eventually lead to collapse of the case,” Mr Haji said.
The country has only 500 prosecutors handling 118,000 cases, meaning that there isn’t enough manpower to build and present such cases.
The MPs promised the nominee that they will work with him, if he is confirmed and consider any amendments to the law to help his office work efficiently.
The team will now prepare its report to the House, which if adopted, will pave the way for President Kenyatta to formally appoint Mr Haji as former DPP Keriako Tobiko’s successor.
HANDLE 200 CASES
“It is not humanly possible for one person to handle 200 cases and successfully prosecute them,” Mr Haji said.
The nominee also decried situations where junior prosecutors with no experience are given complex cases to handle leading presentation of weak grounds for prosecution of suspects and eventual dismissal of the cases.
In his 16-minute opening statement, Mr Haji said he would employ the three Cs approach of collaboration, cooperation and coordination in his duties.
MPs promised the nominee that if confirmed, they were ready to work with him and discuss any amendments to the law to help the office of the DPP work efficiently.
The committee will now prepare its report to the House which if adopted will pave way for President Kenyatta to formally appoint Mr Haji as the country’s next DPP.