By Tobby Otum
President Uhuru Kenyatta has encouraged the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) to focus more on the successful prosecution of high profile cases especially those involving misuse of public resources.
The head of state said it is only through the successful prosecution of such cases that the agency will win and retain the confidence of Kenyans.
“Confidence is a fleeting thing. If people don’t see results, that confidence can also evaporate. It is therefore important that results are also shown so as to justify the investments we are putting in,” he said.
President Kenyatta spoke at State House, Nairobi when he received the ODPP’s 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 performance reports from the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.
The Head of State commended the ODPP for its achievements over the two years and encouraged the institution to collaborate more with other line agencies so as to achieve greater success in the future.
He said an effective and efficient criminal justice system does not only builds confidence but also attracts investors, leading to the creation of jobs for the Kenyan youth.
“I want to encourage you. As much as we appreciate what you have done and what you are doing, I must emphasize the need to deliver results and the need to bring closure to cases.
“That is what will build the confidence, that is what will make the Kenyan public and the international community say, yes Kenya does have a criminal justice system that delivers and produces results,” President Kenyatta said.
The President applauded the public prosecutor for employing young Kenyans saying the decision to enlist young legal minds for prosecutorial jobs will help instill patriotism and cultivate a strong public service culture.
“You have also been busy training young counsels, instilling in them a culture of integrity, a culture of patriotism, a culture of service and not serving yourself.
“This is because jobs like these are not taken because of the paycheque. They are taken because of a high commitment to serving the nation. It is not about the paycheque at the end of the day. It is about one’s commitment to serving his country and its people,” the President said.
On his part Mr. Haji said since the inception of the agency two years ago, the ODPP has recorded tremendous improvement by recruiting and training new youthful and energetic staff who have taken their roles with great commitment.
He said his office had set up a prosecution training institute to help it build internal institutional capacity to prosecute all manner of cases saying the focus of the agency was to enhance service delivery through automation of processes.
“Your Excellency Sir, in order to provide prosecutors with skills and knowledge to effectively and efficiently prosecute emerging and complex crimes, we have established the Prosecution Training Institute (PTI) and set up an e-library that will be the first of its kind in the East and Central African region,” Mr. Haji said.
Mr. Haji said the ODPP had prioritized corruption cases adding that the involvement of subject experts from various fields, such as financial analysts, had enabled the institution to recover corruptly acquired public resources.
“This has thus seen the prosecution of senior state and public officers in both national and county governments, recovered public property and funds that have been corruptly acquired and increased the conviction rate of corruption cases from 37.4% in 2017/2018 to 63.16 % in the first half of 2020,” Mr. Haji said.
Present during the function at State House, Nairobi were Head of Public Service Dr. Joseph Kinyua, Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai and the ODPP’s Public Prosecutions Secretary Dorcas Oduor among other senior government officials.