Officers investigating high profile corruption cases are being threatened to get them to back off, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has disclosed.
Mr Haji further revealed that the disappearance of case files involving influential suspects was also hampering their prosecution. He warned that officers who were hiding or destroying documents would be charged with obstruction of justice.
“Officers prosecuting high-profile cases are being intimidated. They say they are being followed home, receiving phone calls and being tracked. Some of their homes are even being broken into,” said Haji yesterday.
The DPP was speaking during a meeting to brief religious leaders on the war on corruption. Also present were Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Chief Executive Officer Twalib Mbarak.
Speakers at the forum asked leaders to stop politicising the war against corruption, which they noted was not targeting any particular community or individuals with different political affiliations.
Haji said that while the State agencies were doing their best to investigate and prosecute corruption matters, they were encountering various challenges which slowed the progress of some of the key cases.
“It is not a straightforward matter as people think,” he said.
Haji explained that the gathering of evidence in high-profile corruption cases was often a lengthy process, which was constrained by the large number of suspects involved and, in some cases, the involvement of other parties in foreign jurisdictions.
“Investigations into these cases typically take six months to as long as two years. They often require the combined efforts of as many as 30 to 40 experts, ranging from detectives to prosecutors and forensic investigators,” he said.
Haji cited the case of fugitive Yagnesh Devani, saying the British Government was reluctant to extradite him to Kenya to face prosecution.
“We told them you either bring him here or we refuse your requests going forward,” he said.
Haji also revealed that plea-bargain deals had been introduced where corruption suspects who collaborated with investigators were handed reduced sentences.
“ODPP officers prosecute everything under the sun, from corruption to witchcraft. If you steal Sh20 million, you will be fined Sh60 million - thrice the amount you stole.”
The DPP said that in an attempt to dispose the cases speedily, the State agencies were relying on the electronic disclosure of evidence, use of external prosecutors, strengthened inter-agency collaboration, and the recovery of assets of the corrupt.
In response to a recent statement by governors that they should be spared ‘humiliating’ arrests, Mr Mbarak said corruption suspects would not be accorded any special treatment.
“The law is very clear. We don’t have white- and blue-collar suspects. Criminal suspects are suspects in general,” he said.
EACC chairman Eliud Wabukala condemned political interference in the work of investigative agencies.
“These agencies are not chasing any political agenda. They are fighting corruption because it is evil.”
Anglican Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit criticised religious leaders for allowing politicians to abuse religious events and venues. “We must stop idolising those with money and power,” he said.