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Haji hires UK lawyer to try graft cases

Director of the Public Prosecutions (DPP)
Director of the Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Director of the Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji has appointed Queen's Counsel Khawar Qureshi to lead corruption cases against Judicial and government officials after failing to find a local lawyer for the job.

Mr Haji said in a notice Tuesday that he has picked the London-based professor through single-sourcing after failing to find a suitable candidate through advertisement.

The DPP had hinted that he would not recruit applicants who had links with suspects, especially those being pursued for corruption related cases. Some of the top names that applied for the job include George Oraro, Fred Ngatia, Taib Ali Taib, Philip Murgor and Wilfred Nderitu; a former chair of the Governing Council of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Kenya.

“Taking into account the transnational nature of the offences, the complexity and the special skills required to maintain the integrity of the process, the DPP has deemed it prudent, and has decided to appoint Khawar Qureshi, QC, and his assistants to be consultant and lead the prosecution counsel on behalf of the ODPP,” stated a notice on the website of the ODPP.

“The DPP advertised for private legal counsel but due to the unique nature of requirements and the complexity of cases, it was not possible to find suitable candidates."

Mr Haji further explained that there are several cases of great public importance as they involve State and public officers, so a private prosecutor will inject confidence.

He noted that the person assisting Kenya in dealing with graft must look, and be seen to be looking, at the law independently — without any external interference whatsoever. Such a person, he said, must deftly manage relations within the three arms of government and the different justice agencies.

Among senior officials facing graft charges are Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, several principal secretaries and former and current governors.

“In order to ensure transparency and independence in dealing with these cases, to build jurisprudence, to allow pragmatic interpretation of the Constitution and to avoid conflict between the ODPP and the Judiciary, we deem it prudent to engage private foreign counsel to deal with these matters,” Mr Haji said.

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