British High Commissioner Nic Hailey says Kenya’s fight against corruption can get stronger if key departments in the justice system work together, rather than lay into each other.
At celebrations ahead of the Queen’s birthday on Saturday, Mr Hailey called on the police, prosecutors and judges to create a “working chain” in order to secure frequent convictions.
“I often see here in Kenya that different parts of the system criticise each other. The prosecutor would say judges should put the 'guys' away, police would say prosecutors should have done a better job ...,” he told reporters at his official residence in Nairobi.
“What we are trying to do as we partner is to get all these links of the system to closely work together.”
The UK recently pledged to help Kenya’s prosecution teams recover funds stolen from Kenya and stashed there but prosecutors will first have to push through favourable court decisions.
Mr Hailey said, “What we are trying to do here is bring judges, investigators and prosecutors together, train them together and help them understand what each needs from the other so the whole chain works.”
The UK's Serious Fraud Office, he argued, is more efficient because investigators and prosecutors work under the same roof so “they build real expertise in these complicated corruption cases”.
Mr Hailey, whose tour duty is coming to an end, earlier said donors welcomed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s declaration of a relentless fight against corruption.
“What President Kenyatta is doing on corruption is the single most important thing for the future success of this country," the High Commissioner said.
“Until the day I leave, I will keep working with my team to support investigations, trace stolen money and bring the corrupt to book. It is time some big thieves went to jail."
Despite publicised arrests or investigations; the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Director of Public Prosecutions have been accused of doing shoddy jobs to secure convictions.
In fact, at a State House conference on anti-corruption campaigns in October 2016, officials from these departments and the courts publicly traded blame, each side defending its role and blaming the next for frustrating the war on corruption.
In one publicised case known as the Chickengate scandal, UK prosecutors secured jail terms for suspects from printing firm Smith & Ouzman.
Executives of that company paid bribes to electoral bodies in Kenya and other countries to tenders.
Kenya, on the other hand, failed to convict any, despite receiving assistance from the UK.