Former DPP Murgor among three pre-qualified to provide special legal services to ODPP

Former DPP Murgor among three pre-qualified to provide special legal services to ODPP [Courtesy]

Former Director of Public Prosecutions Philip Murgor is among three lawyers who have been pre-qualified to provide legal services to the Office of the Director of Public Service.

The others include former Mombasa Mayor Taib Ali Taib and lawyer James Kihara. DPP Noordin Haji said the move is aimed at strengthening the capacity at his office in light of the increasing complexity of crime.

This followed a public advertisement on September 25, 2018 that requested interested lawyers to apply for pre-qualification to join the pannel of ODPP lawyers for legal services.

Haji said 15 applications were received and processed but three were pre-qualified.

“The responses were not as expected and therefore the DPP will advertise again in order to build a strong portofolio of special prosecutors to assist the ODPP,” said the DPP on Wednesday.

This comes in the wake of Haji’s move to appoint a Queen's Counsel Khawar Qureshi to lead corruption cases against judicial and government officials.

 He said he took the move because some local counsels had declined to prosecute the matter.

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

 Haji appointed the London-based professor through single-sourcing after failing to find a suitable candidate through advertisement.

 The DPP said the appointment was in line with the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, Article 157 (9) of the Constitution and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act.

 “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 consultant and lead prosecution counsel on behalf of the ODPP,” said the notice on the website of the ODPP.

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

This is seen as a new move aimed at dealing with high profile cases that are often feared.  

 “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 interferences or perceptions of such interventions,” he said. 

 Khawar has taught commercial law at Cambridge University and public international law at King's College London.

He was appointed a visiting professor in commercial law at the University of London in 2006 and a deputy High Court judge in 2013.

He has published several books and contributed to many journals, his areas of expertise including commercial litigation, public international law, arbitration, administrative and public law and human rights.

Top officials including several principal secretaries and former and current governors are facing various charges in court.