Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji has assured Kenyans that the State will tame hate mongers and deal with those caught up in electoral offenses.
According to Haji, Kenyans will this time round see politicians being charged over hate speech, voter intimidation, and bribery adding that the police will also account for human rights abuse.
“Violence and such crimes can be reduced during elections,” he said.
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At the same time, he has defended his office on claims that it has slowed down saying that the time taken to conclude cases vary according to the complexity of the cases and the number of applications to be dealt with in a case before it is concluded.
In an interview with The Standard, the DPP expressed confidence that some of the cases involving big fish will be concluded in coming months.
He ruled out bad blood between him and Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti as the reason why there are no more famous kamata kamata (arrest) Fridays for government top officials who are caught by the long hand of the law.
According to him, all investigation files are treated equally.
“There has never been any problem between this office and the DCI. Where a file does not meet the threshold, we tell them including the EACC and they are duty-bound to work on it. Our work is to sieve through and ensure that we have a water-tight case."
"If you look at the case of Sirisia MP John Waluke, we had a watertight case. We have many governors in court and parastatal chiefs and Cabinet Secretaries. There has never been a gap and I really do not see why people would argue that we have either been curtailed or stopped,” he explained.
Meanwhile, he clarified that the file of the security officer attached to the Office of the Deputy President William Ruto, Sergeant Kipyegon Kenei, had not gone cold. He says that DCI will forward the file to him once investigations are concluded. "We have not received the file but it does not mean it has gone cold," he said.
Haji asserted that government officials should step aside when they are charged in court. According to him, his office will fight to the highest court in the land to ensure that those in power leave office when their cases are proceeding.
According to him, there are those who are eliminating witnesses and burning crucial evidence. But he says, agencies have come up with new way demanding wealth explanation and how individuals acquired the same.
Although he did not reveal how many top government officials the State maybe after, Haji says they have not stopped hunting the big fish. He added that with Chief Justice Martha Koome appointing enough judges and magistrates, there will be a change.
“One of the biggest challenges we have had is the number of judges in court and we are very excited with the new Chief Justice because she has come with a mandate to unclog the courts. There are many corruption cases, which have stagnated because we do not have sufficient judges,”” he added.
On sentencing, Haji says that the period that an accused person spends in remand should account for their sentence. He is of the view that being remanded is worse than being jailed as some suspects take more than a decade while waiting for their cases to be concluded.
“ A lot of the time I have argued that if you look at the people in remand, the remand period is actually worse than in prison and when we went across the country to undertake outreach programs to sensitized the public, we found some instances that people had been in remand for 14 years. You cannot tell me then that once that is finished the judge should not take that in consideration,” he continued.