Kinoti, Haji tiff takes political turn as House summons DPP
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has been summoned to appear before a parliamentary committee to answer to allegations that he was frustrating the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in prosecuting graft related cases.
The tiff between the DCI George Kinoti and Haji has taken a political turn after the committee ruled that it would be making recommendations on how to bring the two offices together.
Yesterday, Administration and National Security Committee of the National Assembly chairman Paul Koinange said the committee expects Haji to appear without fail to answer to the claims levelled against him
Koinange said as leaders they have been tasked to help the President in tackling the corruption menace, saying that they will go to the bottom of the matter to have it ended.
“We are here to assist the President fight corruption and if we allow the two offices mandated to investigate and prosecute graft related cases to derail the fight we will be failing,” Koinange said.
He said he has instructed the Clerk to summon Haji to appear before the committee on Wednesday this week.
Efforts to contact the DPP for a comment were futile as his phone went answered for the better part of the day.
But a source at the ODPP said that Haji is not likely to honour the summons as he is said to be out of the country.
Kinoti told the committee that he has been forced to bypass the office of the DPP to directly register cases with the courts owing to frustrations by the latter.
When he appeared before the committee Kinoti told the committee that since he took over office in 2018 no convictions have been made on corruption cases which were forwarded to the DPP.
According to the DCI, in 2018 out of the 22 convictions made on corruption cases investigated by his officers were registered in court directly and not through the ODPP.
Kinoti who cut a frustrated face as he expressed to the members during the closed-door meeting, said his officers felt discouraged and that the morale was at its lowest.
“The DCI sounded a man who has reached his all. While his officers were putting a lot of hours to investigate cases, they end up on the ODPP without any action taken on them,” said a member of the committee.
The annual breakdown of all the corruption cases investigated at the DCI headquarters since he took over and forwarded to the ODPP are, 107 in 2018, 131 in 2019 and 96 in 2020.
Files still with the ODPP are 24 in 2018, 38 in 2019 and 16 in 2020, while there are 193 files still under prosecution.
Sadly, there have been no convictions during the period under review and the DCI now wants parliament to intervene.
There has been sibling rivalry between the DCI and Office of the DPP, with Kinoti accused Haji’s office of interference and inordinate delays in their criminal probes.
Differences between the two, once bosom buddies, escalated when officers from the Haji-led prosecution agency and those from the DCI clashed in court over the status of investigations against former Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Managing Director Daniel Manduku leading to his release after Haji declined to approve charges.
Prosecutors told the court, DPP had advised detectives to free Manduku but the latter produced him in court nevertheless.
In the report tabled before the committee yesterday, Kinoti also gave a summary of the economic crimes cases he had investigated since he took office but said the number has been going down over the years as the drive was low and officers felt discouraged.
For instance, when he took over office in 2018, Kinoti says his officers investigated 5,276 cases and only thirteen (13) cases on obtaining by false pretences won convictions.
The number went down in 2019 to 4,938 but during the year there was not a single conviction.
Last year the number of cases investigated by the DCI fell drastically to 3,371 and appallingly there were no convictions and hearing for most of the cases was yet to kickoff.
Outlining the challenges his office was facing in the course of duty, Kinoti took issue with courts which he said issued “very” lenient bond terms to Economic crimes culprits most of whom have large financial capacities.
“Others are multiple offenders and when this is brought to the attention of the court they tend to have their way,” Kinoti told the committee.