Haji proposes new strategies to achieve successful prosecutions

The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Political incitement and low budget allocation are some of the issues cited by the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji as hindrances to successful prosecutions.

In his service charter that covers 2020-2023, Mr Haji argues that most politicians accused of corruption decline to step aside and take to podiums to whip up tribal emotions as their defence or privately intimidate witnesses.

He also cites poor quality investigations as a reason why criminal cases are lost in court.

Haji said tribal incitement has, in effect, created a perception that some decisions to charge are politically motivated.

The document launched last week and charting the path on how the Office of the DPP will look until 2023 says influential persons demand preferential treatment when arrested for prosecution.

Haji said although there is massive improvement in how his office operates, there are gaps that still need to the sealed.

According to the document, the other issues affecting the office of the DPP include disharmony between staff, lack of a reward mechanism, negative organisational culture, and rigid and non-consultative approach to the allocation of prosecutor duties.

The charter also reveals that staff stagnate in one job group for many years and those who are promoted go up the ladder in an unclear manner.

Moreover, there is high staff turnover due to poor remuneration.

Haji says key areas that would reshape his office into a 21st Century institution include independence and integrity; lifelong learning; reshaping prosecutions; servant leadership; organisational effectiveness; and inter-agency networks.

On independence, the DPP introduces, amongst others, the oath of independence, the Ombudsman Office with its sub-units, policy directions, and guidelines. 

The aspect of lifelong learning will focus on equipping staff with requisite skills and capabilities necessary to deliver their mandate and to adopt international best practices within the country.

Prosecutors will also be taking oath of office.

The DPP intends to modernise prosecution through training and technology. He says that to date, his office still uses manual processes to have criminal cases in court.

At the same time, the DPP wants to reshape the leadership within the office and focus on communication and delivery of quality prosecution and performance management.

“In the years ahead, the ODPP will maintain its focus on these interventions. We will continue to work collaboratively with other agencies in tackling avoidable delay, contributing to the overall interventions to deliver faster, fairer justice,” he says.

The service charter is the third plan by the ODPP.