EXPEDITE CORRUPTION CASES

BODO SIMON: Economic crimes are best prosecuted at the Supreme Court

Judiciary should not only actualise prosecution of such criminals but most importantly, pronounce stiff sentences

In Summary

•For a properly integrated case management system especially those economic crimes that emanate from the Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary; the Auditor General should report directly to the CJ.

•Starting prosecutions from the lower courts and the subsequent appeals by the litigants only serve to deny Kenyans justice.

Supreme Court of Kenya
Supreme Court of Kenya
Image: FILE

The jailing of former South African President Jacob Zuma happened at the nick of Africa Anti-Corruption Day celebrations.

Whether it was a mere coincidence or deliberately orchestrated by man or divine occurrence, we may not tell; what is apparent is that one of the former African statesmen is now cooling his heels in the cold chambers of a correctional facility.

Being a correctional facility, we look forward to the time the “statesman” shall have served his term, he would have reformed or worst gave up the ghost given his advanced age.

The relevant question, therefore, is “what shall it benefit an African politician to gain all resources meant for public utility and rot in jail forever?”

Such query is premised on the realisation that nearly all African leaders have one agenda while ascending to power: to exploit public resources for self-aggrandisement.

Some do not even exploit the country’s resources, but go on a borrowing spree and turn the proceeds of debts to self-use.

If we were to dissect past Africa leadership efficacy on financial and natural resources stewardship, all would-be victims of malfeasance except for very few like Nelson Mandela.

Even the most intelligent of them like Mugabe with several academic credentials succumbed to this vice and left his country in the economic doldrums.

Suffice it to state that, Africa Anti-Corruption Day should not just be marked with flowery speeches and statements, but more action-oriented moves like Zuma’s arrest.

The Judiciary should not only actualise prosecution of political and economic criminals but most importantly, pronouncing stiff sentences and penalties would instil confidence.

In her Anti-Corruption Day statement, Chief Justice Martha Koome asserted that the Judiciary has put in place measures to expedite corruption and economic crimes cases through proper case management that deals with pre-trial, ensuring proper disclosure and day-to-day hearings.

Coupled with her directive to the judges to take charge of court proceedings and discourage malicious adjournments by litigants, it may seem that the Judiciary is on the right trajectory.

The CJ’s statement would not be convincing if not augmented with that of Auditor General’s Nancy Gathungu who on her part underscored that her audits detail irregularities observed, names responsible individuals and the “root cause” of the irregularity in what is referred to as irregularity and responsibility matrix.

What one can comprehend from the two statements are two offices that can harmoniously work to expedite the prosecution of economic criminals.

The two offices can salvage the country from the throes of corruption if political interference is thrown at the backseat.

For a properly integrated case management system, especially those economic crimes that emanate from the Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary; the Auditor General should report directly to the CJ.

That is to suggest that all the audit reports should be directly prosecuted at the Supreme Court to facilitate prosecution and eventual sentencing.

Starting prosecutions from the lower courts and the subsequent appeals by the litigants only serve to deny Kenyans justice.

Subjecting audit reports to institutions like the Legislature is what has served to derail prosecution because MPs are allegedly being compromised to water down such reports or throw them out without substantive actions against them would-be culprit.

This would minimise corruption by a big margin, as would be culprits would know that their time for dilly-dallying with the process would be shortened.

We need to see more cases like Zuma's in Africa.

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris