DPP Haji wants all charged public servants suspended from office

Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji. [Photo, File]

Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin Haji wants public servants charged in court over various issues suspended from office.

Haji, who was speaking on a local station's tv show  on Tuesday, saidthe Judiciary should set tough bail conditions for individuals facing serious offenses. He argued State officers often use the offices they hold to subvert ongoing investigations against them thereby tampering with witnesses or evidence.

The DPP said he intends to propose amendments to Parliament to address the issue.

"We have seen PSs, ambassadors step aside after being charged. Their allowances have been chopped off and they are getting half their salary. I will ask Parliament to review the law, so that such individuals lose their salaries all together," he said.

He said bail terms as set out to defeat the purpose of the whole exercise due to lack of applicable standards across the board.

The  DPP said the courts need to evoke Chapter six of the Constitution which requires such individuals to step aside until their matters are heard and determined.

"When we have individuals who have been charged and who happen to be ambassadors in foreign countries asking for bail so they can present their credentials in a foreign country, what message are we sending? The courts need to help us," he said.

He expressed his displeasure over the manner in which the courts have been handling cases against high-profile individuals.

Several high profile individuals including governors and senior officers in government have cases pending before courts including those on graft, abuse of office and even murder.

Haji said while the presumption of “innocent until proven guilty” is in the law, the same law allows for public officers to step down when charged with offences until they are cleared of any wrongdoing.

“There is the issue of innocent until proven guilty, but our laws are clear that they (public officers) need to step aside until the issue is adjudicated upon. This is about the law. We have tried to make the courts see sense in interpreting this,” he said.

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Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Noordin HajiConstitution