DPP: We cannot act on Parliamentary Committee reports

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji present their budget proposal before the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee at Parliament. [Boniface Okendo/Standard]
Reports by parliamentary committees investigating various crimes cannot be used in a court of law, according to Directorate of Public Prosecutions.

Deputy DPP Jacob Ondari's revelation now dents ongoing investigations by both the National Assembly and the Senate whose recommendations, including on prosecution, will not necessarily be acted upon.

Ondari said reports by National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Public Investment (PIC) are not actionable as they are half baked with numerous gaps.

The DPP said evidence arising out of an audit or outright theft must be prepared and packaged in a particular manner for effective prosecution of suspects.

“It is unlikely that the DPP would initiate a prosecution on the basis of the PAC and PIC reports or even the Auditor General’s report,” Ondari said in his submission to the County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC) on Thursday.

He added: “While it can generate important evidence, such evidence may not be reliable or admissible in court of law.”

Documentary evidence

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Ondari said such evidence must be repackaged and documentary evidence verified before being used.

The Constitution provides either house of Parliament, or any committees, has powers to summon any individual to appear before it for purposes of giving evidence or providing information.

“For the purposes of clauses (1), a House of Parliament and any of its committees has the same powers as the High Court, to enforce attendance of witnesses and examine them on oath, affirmation or otherwise and compel production of documents,” the law reads in part.

In deciding whether or not to institute criminal proceedings against an accused person, the DPP must assess whether there is sufficient and admissible evidence for a reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution.

“There is must indeed be a reasonable prospect of a conviction, otherwise the prosecution should not be commenced or continued,” Ondari said.

Ondari spoke during a forum called by CPAIC to assess the risk of corruption in county governments at Parliament.

CPAIC's probe into a report by the Auditor General revealed officials of Busia, Kisumu, Transnzoia, Nyandarua, Tana River, Kwale, Samburu and Kericho counties failed to offer satisfactory answers on audit queries over the 2013-14 fiscal year.

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