UK’s public prosecutor in Kenya to help in corruption probe

Britain High Commissioner Nic Hailey (r) explains a point as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji and his UK counterpart Max Hill DPP of England and Wales as they responded to media questions at a press conference in Serena Hotel. [Jenipher Wachie/Standard]
The public prosecutor for England and Wales Max Hill is in Kenya to help his counterpart Noordin Haji in enhancing cooperation and collaboration in investigation and prosecution of corruption and terrorism cases.

Hill and his team held meetings with Haji and officials from the Criminal Justice System in Kenya where they agreed hold joint initiatives on issues to do with corruption and terrorism.

He said the Crown Prosecution Service has an office in Kenya to help in tackling organized crime like corruption.

“Corruption is theft from our people and we will work together to fight it. We want to make people safe,” said Hill.

The Crown Prosecution Service is the principal public prosecuting agency for conducting criminal prosecutions in England and Wales.

Officials from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Asset Recovery Agency, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and Witness Protection Agency were present.

He said the CPS will continue to help Kenya and the region in capacity building on various issues including investigations of crimes.

British High Commission to Kenya Nic Hailey said Hill is in Nairobi to discuss UK support to Kenya"s fight against corruption.

 “Where people are hiding money in the UK, or where we can help convict the corrupt in Kenya, we will give every possible support,” he said.

He called on those mentioned in corruption issues to step aside until they are cleared by authorities.

This will help in investigations and ensure there is no evidence tampering, he added

Haji said the CPS’ office is helping in financial tracing of corrupt money and especially that which is hidden in UK.

“They have assisted in all cases that we have asked them. Those that are in public and private domain,” he said.

He singled out on the stalled Arror and Kimwarer dams saga which he argued the British government has assisted Kenyan police in tracing the movements of money and other issues.

He asked for patience from Kenyans in the cases saying they are moving in the right direction.

“The issues involved are complex and require delving into a web of convoluted financial transactions spanning a considerable period spread across several borders and continents,” he said.

He added the inquiries are also being conducted in different jurisdictions apart from UK with often conflicting rules, regulations and procedures.

Haji said their central duty is to ensure justice is done at every stage of the investigation to all who may have been involved.

“This sometimes means that the pace of investigations may appear slow in the face of it. The investigations are ongoing. The process is informed by the need to ensure that unadulterated evidence, capable of standing up to keen scrutiny is obtained.”

He added he had requested utmost speed in the conclusion of the probe to make his decision on the same.

He made the remarks following public’s palpable anxiety regarding the issue.

The DPP had asked police to also investigate the tendering process, as well as the discrepancies in the identities of the parties that bid for the projects and those who won the tenders.

Investigators were also directed inquire into why the designs for the dams were being done “post-fact”, meaning after the payments and contracts had been made.

They were told to check the involvement of a large number of government officials in the entire process, which explains why reactions to the investigations have taken a political turn.

At least five Cabinet Secretaries- Henry Rotich, Mwangi Kiunjuri, Eugene Wamalwa, Adan Mohamed and Peter Munya have been questioned over the scandal.

Their Principal Secretaries, top treasury officials, those from Kerio Valley Development Authority, Kenya Forest Service and several government agencies have also recorded statements over the Sh21 billion scandal.

Treasury has paid Sh21 billion but no works have started at the site.

The failure by the contractors to commence the construction of the dams after receiving the mobilization money has raised questions and divided many politicians with allies of Deputy President William Ruto claiming the probe is political.

Officials say the poor financial health of the Italian firm is also thought to be the reason the same contractor abandoned Itare Dam and failed to start works at the Arror and Kimwarer sites.

DCI says their focus was on how due diligence, if any, was carried out.

The project was to be a joint venture by KVDA, CMC di Ravenna and Itinera of Italy. But police have detected several faults in subsequent contracts that were signed to warrant payments.

Arror dam was set to cost Sh38.5 billion while Kimwarer dam was budgeted for Sh28 billion.

A part from boosting food security, the dams will also be used to provide clean water for hundreds of households in the county and neighboring county of Uasin Gishu and besides, generate 60 per cent megawatts of hydro-electric power to be connected to the national grid.

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England Prosecutor in KenyaUK ProsecutorCorruption ProbeDPP Noording Haji