A misunderstanding between the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) is threatening to derail the execution of corruption cases touching on senior county assembly officials and contractors in Migori.
More than two weeks after the DPP approved the arrest and prosecution of at least 15 suspects in the corruption cases at the Assembly, the DCI is yet to make any arrests.
A letter by Mr Victor Mule for the DPP to the Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai dated November 5 notes that the ODPP sanctioned the arrest and arraigning of the suspects, including Migori Assembly speaker Boaz Okoth, his deputy David Chacha, Members of the Migori County Assembly Service Board Roland Asiga, Nicholas Rioba, Clifford Jobando and Mereza Akello.
Others are acting assembly clerk Emmanuel King’wara, suspended clerk Tom Onyango and supply chain manager Steve Okello. Also on the list are directors and former directors of various companies, including Lucy Wanja (director and shareholder at Pamawe Construction Company), James Nduati (former director and the current operations manager at Pamawe), Willis Gor (director at Travel Time Leaders Company), Joan Owuor (signatory of Travel Time) and Pius Okello (director at Guumba Contractors Limited).
“The suspects should be apprehended forthwith and arraigned on charges of conspiracy to commit an offence of corruption,” reads the DPP’s letter. The assembly had been alarmed following the DPP’s move to approve the arrest of its senior officials, with some MCAs noting it would further cripple services in the county, which is already in a leadership dilemma after the High Court barred Governor Okoth Obado from accessing his office pending determination of a Sh73 million corruption case.
When reached for comment over the matter, DPP Noordin Haji said “the right person to ask is the DCI”, Mr George Kinoti, who said his detectives had investigated the Migori case and forwarded the findings to the DPP.
“Before a suspect is arraigned, one is allowed under the law to respond to all the charges under two mandatory statements — statement under inquiry and cautionary statement,” Mr Kinoti told the Saturday Nation. “In the event there is production of any new evidence or document by the suspect in defense or response to charges, the investigations commence again to verify. We can’t arraign any suspect until this is done
The DPP, Mr Kinoti added, does not investigate a matter. In April, Mr Haji and Mr Kinoti failed to agree on charging former Kenya Ports Authority MD Daniel Manduku with corruption.