EACC Holds a Conference to Strengthen Stakeholder Collaboration in the Justice Sector
27:07:2021: Key actors in the Justice Sector are meeting in Mombasa for a five-day conference under the theme “Strengthening Stakeholder Collaboration Within the Justice Sector Towards Combating Corruption and Economic Crimes.” Participating are 65 practitioners from 16 key agencies within the sector. The presence of key actors in the Justice Sector signifies the increasing need for strengthened inter-agency collaboration in tackling national challenges, including corruption. Participants are drawn from institutions constituting the Multi-Agency Team (MAT) on corruption and economic crimes, the National Council on Administrative Justice (NCAJ) and the Kenya Leadership Integrity Forum (KLIF). Also present are representatives of the Private Sector, representation from County Governments, Parliament and Civil Society who are active members under KLIF.
Speaking during the conference, EACC CEO Mr. Twalib Mbarak noted that the forum provides an opportunity for players to take stock of the progress made, challenges encountered and to share experiences in order to develop sustainable solutions in the fight against corruption and unethical conduct. The Government of Kenya has demonstrated its commitment to fight corruption by empowering institutions in the criminal justice system. More Judicial Officers, Prosecutors and Investigators have also been appointed. Several capacity-building programmes, both locally and internationally, have been organized for officers drawn from the Justice Sector. As a result of the collaboration, considerable progress has been recorded in dealing with the turnaround time for investigations. This has been achieved through routine engagements between the Commission and the ODPP for better understanding and management of cases.
Archbishop (Emeritus) Dr. Eliud Wabukala, in his remarks, recognized the role of development partners such as the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) and Transparency International, whom he noted have remained great champions of good governance in Kenya. He said that there is great potential and hope in the resolve to work together in eradicating corruption in the Country. It is on this basis that EACC has adopted a “Partnership Approach” as one of its key strategies in confronting corruption and unethical conduct, adding that this joint forum has given the justice sector an opportunity to share experiences and best practise. He also noted that, in the recent past, the Courts have continued to develop sound jurisprudence by interpreting the laws in a purposive manner, especially in the areas of asset recovery and unexplained wealth. He appealed to the Judiciary to extend the progressive efforts to the application of Chapter 6 of the Constitution on leadership and integrity, so as to give effect to the integrity threshold envisaged therein.
“Chapter 6 of the Constitution was meant to insulate public trust from abuse by those entrusted with leadership positions. In enacting this Chapter, Kenyans expected that only leaders who meet the integrity threshold would occupy public office. I therefore urge Kenyans to always elect persons of integrity, bearing in mind that they ultimately bear the consequences of bad leadership. This way, we can circumvent the obstacles that are often associated with the ineffective legal frameworks on public service integrity.”Eliud Wabukala
In his remarks, the Director Public Prosecution Mr. Noordin Haji said that Corruption facilitates the commission of other transnational and organized crimes such as trafficking in persons, cybercrime, drug trafficking and terrorism, ultimately compromising and jeopardizing our national security and collective interests. Speaking from a prosecutor’s perspective; Mr. Haji remarked that “each time we make the decision to charge and prosecute the corrupt, we know that we are safeguarding the public good. Each prosecution sends a powerful message to the corrupt or those being tempted by opportunities to steal that they shall be held to account.”
Honourable Lady Justice Njoki Ndung’u who represented the Chief Justice during the opening ceremony of the workshop noted in her keynote address that, currently, a total of 995 cases are pending before the Special Magistrates and Judges in Anti-Corruption (ACEC) Division of the High Court countrywide. Out of these, 310 cases are corruption cases pending before the Special Magistrate’s Court while 685 are civil cases for recovery of proceeds of corruption, recovery of public assets, forfeiture of unexplained wealth and Constitutional Petitions pending before the High Court and Court of Appeal. She observed that some cases have been pending before court for more than 10 years.
In her speech, the Chief Justice informed participants that her office is working closely with the Judicial Service Commission to increase the number of Judicial Officers handling cases of corruption and economic crimes and has also directed that Judicial Officers handling these and all matters in the Judiciary embrace proper case management. “Adoption of proper case management will ensure cases are heard on a day-to-day basis from beginning to conclusion; discourage and do away with adjournments by parties on hearing dates; and discourage applications on hearing dates.”, said the Honourable Lady Justice.
The Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court committed to ensuring that the Anti-corruption courts will be automated to secure real-time transcription of records and proceedings to facilitate expeditious disposal; institute a Rapid Results Initiative (RRI) to clear backlog in anti-corruption cases; the Judiciary will also put in place trial systems and case management innovations to discourage frequent adjournment of cases. She also committed to roll out practice directions on warrants to search premises and investigate bank accounts where these have been delayed in the Judiciary.