George Kinoti and Haji take ego fight to Parliament
Members of Parliament (MPs) have summoned the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji and his Directorate of Criminal Investigations counterpart (DCI) George Kinoti to appear before them in two weeks to respond to the differences between them which have stalled prosecution of a number of high profile cases.
A document before the Administration and National Security summarises tens of files and their status, which the DCI tabled for members to address.
“We have taken up the matter; in fact, the said document is before our committee. We are going to summon the two to tell us what is really happening,” said Committee chairman Peter Mwathi (Limuru).
Stated Mwathi: “The document was tabled before my committee before I joined in and therefore it will be prudent for the two to update us first after which we will commence the hearing.”
“I can assure the committee will give the two a hearing to have the matter settled without further unnecessary delays,” Mwathi added.
High profile cases
The escalating feud between DCI and the ODPP could result in high profile cases dropped and suspects go scot free since the latter has refused to prosecute them in court.
Kinoti and Haji have been at loggerheads over the way cases were being treated by the ODPP. Most of the cases have either stalled or have been dropped altogether.
Among the key files, the DCI has noted is that of the murder of Tob Cohen where his widow Sarah Wairimu is facing charges but the DPP is yet to prosecute.
The other file is that of former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich where he is charged with engaging in a project without prior planning involving Sh20.5 billion.
Investigations on the case started in September 2018 and the file forwarded to the DPP in May 2019, prosecution is still pending, and the accused are expected to appear in court today for the amendment of the charges.
According to the DCI, the file of former Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Managing Director Daniel Manduku, who is facing a Sh506.4 million procurement charge, is still pending at the ODPP together with another one where Manduku is accused of awarding a Sh803.9 million with no budgetary allocation. Kinoti claims the file has been held at the ODPP for one year and six months.
Two other files involving Manduku are still pending with no explanation given. They include one where he is accused of irregularly gazetting KPA peripheral facilities together with Kevin Safari, who was the Commissioner of Customs where Sh1.3 billion was involved.
Kinoti also claims a case involving prominent businessman Humphrey Kariuki over tax evasion amounting to Sh39 billion is also still pending prosecution.
In a case involving Ekeza Sacco where the directors were accused of misappropriating members’ savings amounting to Sh2 billion, the DPP rejected the file concluding that the DCI had no legal capacity to dispose of the matter.
The DPP, documents seen by the People Daily states, closed a file where a Paul Mwarania had requested for investigations into the alteration of tender documents by the Evaluation Tender Committee, at Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement Project in Kisumu.
A case involving Homa Bay County employees of massive fraud where Sh126.4 million was stolen was returned by the DPP for the DCI to carry out further investigations and provide cover points. The case has been pending for two years. A case where Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa is charged with misappropriation of funds from the local CDF kitty of Sh57.7 million is still pending prosecution two years down the line.
The DPP has returned a file to the DCI for lack of inadequate investigations on the inquiry into suspected money laundering by trustees of Omeriye Educational and Medical Foundation involving Sh202 million.
Haji’s office is still holding a file involving the alleged embezzlement of public funds in the construction of KPC, a pipeline replacement project where Sh262 million was lost. Kinoti also accuses the DPP of holding a file into alleged fraud and money laundering by the staff of Kajiado County where Sh225 million was lost.
A case where former Kenya Power and Lighting Managing Directors Ken Tarus and Ben Chumo and 12 others are accused of fraudulently paying Sh200 million for substandard transformers is yet to be prosecuted since the arrests in May 2018.
Early last year, DCI head of the Investigations Bureau John Kariuki wrote a memo to all his officers across the country directing them not to forward any file to ODPP.
“The DPP has immense powers, including terminating a case or amending the charges once the case has been presented in court,” protested Kariuki.
“What he is trying to do currently is circumvent the law to grant himself powers that he does not have,” Kariuki said in an interview with the People Daily then.
And as the feud between the two offices rages, the prosecution of more than 100 cases has stalled after the ODPP either overruled the DCI or failed to respond to requests from investigators for prosecution.
The cases include investigations into the ownership of Renton Company said to be behind the grabbing of 1,600 acres of land meant for sewerage treatment in Ruai.
The DPP is also said to be holding onto a file in which the DCI had cracked an oil siphoning syndicate in Mlolongo by some KPC employees. Seven individuals, among them four KPC workers, were arrested and are out on bond since June last year. Kinoti also accuses Haji of having withdrawn the charge sheets of cases involving a Nyahururu magistrate accused of corruption in a case involving a suspect charged with dealing in contraband sugar.
Haji, however, defended himself accusing Kinoti of presenting evidence that cannot sustain a trial case.
“We cannot prefer charges against a person if we do not have evidence. The evidence must meet a certain threshold before a case is taken to court,” he said.
Haji said investigators must do thorough investigations and provide sufficient evidence that is likely to give a conviction.
“The ODPP is not bound by the file brought to us. We are demanding good standards, we do not just rubberstamp cases. We want a win, we want justice,” he said.
“We cannot take a case with only one statement to court and hope for justice. If a case is weak, we send it back and demand further investigations,” he said.
In the late Cohen murder case Haji has declined to charge Court of Appeal judge Sankale ole Kantai even after the DCI demands that the judge be tried.