State gets millions as parties bargain

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji in Nairobi on July 1, 2020. [Elvis Ogina,Standard]

The government has recovered millions of shillings on plea bargaining convictions.

From corruption charges involving prominent personalities to murder cases, the accused persons approached the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) through the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) or the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to negotiate for lenient terms.

As one of the milestones recorded by DPP Noordin Haji’s office in a report that consolidated three financial years, the process that does not apply to civil cases has now allowed his office to concentrate on bigger cases and save accusers from stricter penalties.

For instance, in December 2018, Family Bank was ordered by the court to pay Sh64 million for its role in the Sh1.6 billion National Youth Service (NYS I) money laundering case. This took place after the bank, through its Head of Security John Michiri, pleaded guilty voluntarily. The bank wrote to the DPP to have the matter settled through a plea bargain.

Early last year, Haji terminated the case against a Moroccan company and four others accused of importing fertiliser alleged to contain mercury.

OCP (K) Ltd, its directors Malika Karama, Younes Addou, Bernard Ngesa and Karimi Lofti Senhadji were freed after the DPP withdrew the charges. Assistant DPP Alexander Muteti told the court that the parties entered into a plea agreement, which was subsequently adopted in court.

In 2019/2020, a total of 2,586 new homicide cases were registered across the country and 1,640 were finalised, with a conviction rate of 81.96 per cent.

Of the cases, 97 were concluded on plea bargain agreements, with murder recording the highest figure at 88 out of 1,003 cases.

Some 48 out of 2,313 defilement and six of 208 incest cases were convicted on plea bargain.

The DPP’s office launched Plea Bargain Guidelines in December 2019.