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We have done very well; DPP Noordin Haji defends withdrawing charges

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji. [File, Standard]

The Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji now says he had no ill motive while dropping charges against some cases.

In an interview with KTN’s Sophia Wanuna, Haji said his docket had done well in prosecution of cases touching on high profile individuals.

He admitted however that, he had failed to execute some cases.

“We have done really well in prosecution of some cases and failed in some especially corruption cases which were weaponized and used against us,” Haji said.

On October 12, 2022, DPP made headlines after he applied to withdraw Sh80m graft case against former Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal. The magistrate Thomas Nzioki however asked him to justify the withdrawal bid.

On the same day, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) said it will also withdraw all cases against human rights defenders who were arrested illegally and charged falsely by police officers.

Speaking during an interview on KTN News, Haji said he had no ill motive.

“People are reading too much into it. If you look at the number of cases we’ve been handling, and the number of cases we’ve reviewed, nobody has raised those questions before. And really if we had any sinister motive whatsoever, then I would have been more careful in when and how I was going to withdraw them. But we had no such ill motive at all,” said Haji.

The DPP went ahead to disclose that the withdrawal was not made abruptly.

“Our files are open for scrutiny and we did that with the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and other players within the legal fraternity and we had a number of communications in some of the files much earlier before this decision was made.

The decision to withdraw was made even before the elections itself, because we had undertaken a number of reviews. We had communicated with the office of Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to ask them to avail the evidence that was required for us to be able to make full disclosures in court and for us to prove our point,” said Haji.

According to Haji, the cases have not been closed altogether.

“When we realised that this was not forthcoming, we had no other alternative than to withdraw the cases. It was not proper for us to allow for miscarriage of justice in our opinion. However, even after withdrawing these cases, we have taken them back to the DCI’s office to relook at them and decide whether that evidence can be availed to us,” he said.

The DPP went ahead to lift the lid on the turf war between his office and that of the DCI.

“The main bone of contention was the decision to charge and that’s why at the end, the office of the DPP came up with guidelines on the decision to charge. However, over time we discovered that the DCI at that time was not serious in availing evidence.

That’s why we had a pull and shove between the two offices because I could not allow any longer to have cases that did not have the desired threshold and did not meet what was sufficient for us to go to court. And that’s why then our posture changed and we demanded that the DCI should finish all his investigations before we can move to court and make that decision to charge,” said Haji.

Haji while defending himself argued that he has been vindicated for having stood by his decision.

“What we discovered then was that a lot of those cases did not meet the threshold, and I am not saying this because he (DCI) is out. But I think I stood my ground all through even when I was threatened and taken to court for removal because I stood by my decision to say that the evidence must be there before I can make that decision to charge. That I will no longer depend on good faith because that good faith is not there.” said Haji.

Haji who was appointed in March 2018 said he did not drop the ball while at the same time pointing an accusing finger to the DCI.

“When I came in, I believed there was good faith and that we were going to adhere to the constitution and that everybody will keep to their lane. When I say that I will deliver, I endeavour to make sure that I deliver. But when you have a colleague who is not willing to do that, who has other motives in the way that he packages the evidence that you so much depend on, then you cannot really say that we as ODPP dropped our ball.

That is why we came with the decision to charge guideline, to ensure that the public understands what we are going through, and to ensure that the investigators understand what is required.” Said Haji.