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January 19, 2019

DPP returns files to anti-graft agency, cites evidence gaps

DPP Noordin Haji and EACC chairman Eliud Wambukala at the EACC offices/FILE
DPP Noordin Haji and EACC chairman Eliud Wambukala at the EACC offices/FILE

The EACC is on the spot over what appears to be shoddy investigations that could cost the country billions of shillings in ongoing corruption cases.

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji told a Senate committee yesterday he had returned most of the files sent to him because they had evidence gaps. 

“It is not that there is no case, there is. But what I need is evidence so I can prosecute,” he told senators. He said he was not going to take cases to court unless he had seen and tested the evidence to guarantee convictions. 

When questioned by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr if the gaps were deliberate, Haji said some investigators lacked the skills to examine legal issues and that is why he has decided to set up multi-agency teams.

“The NYS cases moved very fast because we worked together as a team and the ODPP was embeded to guide the investigators,” he said. The chief prosecutor said out of 104 files given to him by the EACC, only one belonging to a governor has enough evidence to sustain succesful prosecution. 

Fifty-seven other files belonging to petty offenders suspected to have been stolen or recieved bribes of  Sh5,000 and Sh10,000 were also returned to the EACC.

Later in the afternoon, Haji appeared at a press conference with EACC chief executive officer Halakhe Waqo (pictured below) who defended the anti-graf agency’s record. Waqo concurred with Haji that the EACC continues to work with the DPP in the fight against corruption. 

“We are not new to working with the office of the DPP. Our working relationship, even before the new DPP came in office, continues to flow the way it has been. Our statistics on cases we have investigated and prosecuted speak for themselves,” Waqo said.

The EACC boss said his office has had a 99 per cent concurrence with the DPP’s office on files to be prosecuted, while the conviction rate stands at 79 per cent. “In 2017-18 a total of 44 cases have been finalised by the courts, resulting in 35 convictions and nine acquittals,” Waqo said. He disclosed his term at the EACC ends this year.

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