HIGH-PROFILE SUSPECTS MANIPULATING COURT PROCESSES

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Director of Criminal Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji said many graft cases involving prominent individuals have stalled as the suspects keep filing applications to stop their trial.

According to the DPP the trend has greatly hampered his office’s ability to attain its conviction targets. Additionally, the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down work in the ODPP’s office, forcing them to quickly digitise some operations to keep up with the piling workload. Some suspects would feign sickness to stop cases, with some claiming to have contracted Covid-19.

To speed up high-profile cases pending in various courts, the DPP has now sought the assistance of the Judiciary to have the malaise cured from within.

He further explained that in instances where the courts have stopped prosecutions, his office has sought other forums to address suspected graft and abuse of office.

While he did not expressly mention names, Mr Haji made reference to a petition he has filed against Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu at the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), where he has asked that she be removed from office.

The DPP asked Justice Koome to push for hiring of more anti-corruption court magistrates, as the current 15 cannot handle the high volume of cases. The judiciary was further requested to automate their processes. On her part, Chief Justice Martha Koome promised to look into the matter and seal any gaps slowing down the wheels of justice during a courtesy call by the DPP to the Supreme Court.

The DPP has since assuming office approved the arraignment of several governors, legislators, judicial officers and influential businesspersons over theft of taxpayers’ funds. At least eight governors have been charged with graft, but most of the cases are yet to go into the main hearing.

High-profile Kenyans have mastered the art of manipulating the criminal justice system to avoid their day in court. However, the collaboration between the Judiciary under the new leadership and the office of director of Public prosecutions is likely to ensure that corruption cases no longer stall in courts because of external influence.

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