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October 24, 2018

We've done our job well, EACC's Waqo says after DPP returns files with gaps

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission CEO Halakhe Waqo during a past press conference at the Integrity Centre, Nairobi. /VICTOR IMBOTO
Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission CEO Halakhe Waqo during a past press conference at the Integrity Centre, Nairobi. /VICTOR IMBOTO

The EACC has defended its record saying current statistics show that they have achieved 79 per cent convictions on all the cases they have investigated.

CEO Halakhe Waqo said this translates to up to 99 per cent concurrence rate.

This means that for every ten cases the commission has forwarded to the DPP’s office, nine have been successfully prosecuted on basis of strong evidence.

"Because even the records we have show that in 2016/17 financial year, we had 33 cases concluded by court out of which 25 were convictions, five discharges, and three acquittals."

"If matters change from now henceforth, time will tell and records will tell. But for now, I want us to be that forthright. We do our work intensely," Waqo added.

Waqo’s claims are, however, a contradiction of basic facts considering that no high profile corruption case has ever been successfully prosecuted.

These include Anglo Leasing, Chicken Gate, Goldenberg, NYS, Maize scandal and the Karen land saga.

Waqo said the commission has the best investigators and engages specialists in professions such as procurement, surveyors, forensic analysts among others. 

 He said by the time the commission decides to propose cases to the DPP for prosecution, it is convinced that it has gathered enough evidence to sustain a prosecution before court.

The CEO made the remarks at a joint press conference with DPP Noordin Haji on Wednesday at EACC headquarters at Integrity Centre, Nairobi.

His remarks came hours after Noordin informed the Senate Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs that it has been unable to prosecute some corruption cases because "they had gaps".

The DPP said three out of four files the EACC forwarded to his office concerning governors implicated in corruption cases, lacked sufficient evidence.

"The truth of the matter is that they were gaps and there are gaps and there is no two ways. Where there are, we will point out and return to the EACC to ask them to do further investigations and to bring the required evidence," Noordin said.

Read: EACC files on three governors not actionable due to gaps - DPP

He told the Senators that some of the gaps are as a result of among other things, "oversight on the part of the investigating officers on very pertinent issues".

During the press conference, however, Noordin said returning of the files back to the EACC does not in any way point to incompetence on the commission’s side.

"The process is the way it is because the law has provided for it. Once investigations are complete, the files are brought to the ODPP for us to look at it and decide whether we can prosecute or not."

The assertions came in the wake of concerns among Kenyans who have questioned EACC's capacity to investigate prosecutable cases.

There are also calls for the disbandment of the anti-corruption body owing to failure to prosecute senior state officers implicated in graft.

Read more: KOT roast EACC over failure to recover graft proceeds, jail big fish

Also read: Keep EACC, replace Wabukala with Edward Ouko to end corruption

"And where there are lose ends and gaps, then we do that and return and ask the investigators to cover those areas," the DPP said.

He added that that was the procedure that was followed in the ongoing NYS trial.

"We did return the files to the DCI for them to cover areas, and at no time does that mean that there is a weak link. It’s part of the process."

Waqo said that at no point has there be a fight between the EACC and the DPP’s office over the manner in which cases are investigated.

"Our statistics are very clear and our statistics speak for us jointly that we do not fight over this."

While appearing before the Senate, the DPP said that going forward, his office will be working jointly with EACC investigators by way of providing guidance on what to look for during investigations in order to seal the gaps.

Noordin said this is in line with Section 5 of the ODPP Act. "This was not happening before and we have realised that it brings a big problem."

 Waqo said EACC is committed to continue the close cooperation and partnerships with DPP's office and has held several consultative meetings and discussions to ensure seamless flow of processes.

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