NAIROBI, KENYA: Corruption is a key element in economic under-performance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development, Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has said.
Haji said that the fight against corruption requires a holistic, multi-faceted and integrated approach with the primary focus being on detection, prevention and punishment of the vice.
“Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organised crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish,” said Haji.
In a speech read on his behalf during the launch of the LSK Legal Aid Week by his deputy Nicholas Mutuku, Haji said that the evil phenomenon is found in all countries big and small, rich and poor but it is in the developing world that its effects are most destructive.
“Corruption hurts the poor disproportionately by diverting funds intended for development, undermining government's ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice, and discouraging foreign investment and aid,” he said.
Haji said that there is need to explore diversity of charges, the proper collection and preservation of evidence, examination of witnesses, making of thoughtful and well researched arguments, assets tracing and forfeiture among many other aspects, to ensure successful investigation and prosecution of those charged with corruption related offenses.
The legal Aid awareness week is currently ongoing at the Milimani Law Courts, High Courts of Kenya countrywide.
This year’s week is held under the theme “Corruption: a crime against justice, democracy, development and prosperity”.
The event will be observed countrywide, across all High Courts as the Society endeavors to provide free Legal Aid and promote access to justice to the general public, with particular emphasis on the underprivileged, vulnerable and incarcerated groups.
“Corruption is a vicious cancer that permeates the fabric of our society. For decades it has spread its tentacles and created an unholy symbiotic bond. Unless we climb out of the hole of complacency the corrupt will fight back taking advantage of our weaknesses,” said LSK President Allen Gichuhi.
“We call upon the members of public to turn out in large numbers and receive legal advice from advocates at no cost during the week,” said LSK Chief Executive Mercy Wambua.