Queen’s Counsel to handle graft suits

Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji has appointed Queen’s Counsel Khawar Qureshi to prosecute corruption cases against judicial and government officials. 

Mr Haji said he took the decision because local counsel declined to prosecute the cases. 

“I also wanted an independent person to handle the cases because there were allegations of bias and witch-hunt against my office at large,” he said.

Haji appointed the London-based professor of law through single-sourcing after failing to find a suitable candidate even with the advertisement of the position.

The DPP said the appointment was in line with the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act and Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act.

Special skills

“Taking into account the transnational nature of the offences, the complexity and the special skills required to maintain the integrity of the process, the DPP has deemed it prudent, and has decided to appoint Khawar Qureshi, QC, and his assistants to be consultants and lead prosecution counsel on behalf of the ODPP,” stated the notice on the website of the ODPP.

The DPP advertised for private legal counsel, but due to the unique nature of requirements and complexity of the cases, it was not possible to find suitable candidates.

“This rationale is further fortified by the fact that the stakes in such cases are very high and therefore, it is necessary that the proceedings are insulated from the public perception of political interference or perceptions of such interventions,” Haji said.

Khawar has taught law at Cambridge University and King’s College in London.