What you need to know:
- Many cases are lost just because of poor prosecution and, by extension, shoddy investigation.
- A strong prosecution is good for the country and every effort must be made to strengthen the institution.
The fresh drive to strengthen and empower the Directorate of Public Prosecutions is vital for enhancing the administration of justice. Effective function of the judicial process rests on the competence and speed of prosecution of cases. Many cases are lost just because of poor prosecution and, by extension, shoddy investigation.
Yesterday, Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji launched a service charter, which, among others, seeks to create structures to support independence of the office and force compliance with the law. Further, it provides for strong collaboration between investigative agencies to speed up and deepen the levels of evidence gathering.
These are vital propositions that should be implemented.
When he took over office three years ago, Mr Haji made high-impact prosecutions. Several top government officers were arrested and prosecuted over corruption. However, the momentum ebbed, and nowadays we hardly hear of the DPP causing shockwaves. Yet that is what the public wants, given the soaring levels of corruption in the country.
So far, Mr Haji avers that he has raised the number of prosecutions to 70 per cent from 37.6 per cent when he took office. For good measure, he indicates that some 140 high-impact corruption cases, which in monetary terms are estimated to be worth Sh226 billion, are pending. This is telling. Much work has to be done to nail down the corrupt and the vice made very painful to deter others from engaging in it.
A critical issue is co-ordination and synergy among the agencies involved in the administration of justice. Every agency must do its part. For example, investigators must conduct thorough investigations to provide incontrovertible evidence to secure convictions. On its part, the ODPP has to carry out thorough evidence tests to ensure that the facts presented in court are concrete and can withstand judicial scrutiny. Similarly, courts must act judiciously and quickly to resolve cases.
A strong prosecution is good for the country and every effort must be made to strengthen the institution.