Two years after assuming office in 2018, the bromance between DCI boss George Kinoti and DPP Noordin Haji is at stake, exposed by the release of KPA boss Daniel Manduku and KRA's commissioner for customs Kevin Safari in court on Tuesday, March 3. Manduku and Safari had been arrested over alleged tender fraud.
A report by The Standard, on Wednesday, March 4, stated that Kinoti took over the case himself and bypassed the DPP's office.
Haji only learnt of the arrest of the duo through the media, as DCI officers claimed that they were frustrated by efforts by DPP Haji to handle cases because files which dated back to April 2019 still lay at Haji's office.
In the court, after DCI had prepared a charge sheet, DPP's officers refused to register the sheet arguing that the DCI had defied their directive to review Manduku's case independently, as officials from the two agencies lost their cool in court.
"It is very unfortunate the DCI decided to drag the persons to court in total disregard of the DPP's directive that he needs to do an independent review of the file. The DPP is very disappointed about the way the case is being conducted," Joseph Riungu, Haji's assistant stated.
"It is a difficult matter and situation for the DCI. I don't understand the differences between us and the prosecution since we followed due diligence, prepared the charge sheet and brought the suspects to court," Gituathi Njoroge, lead investigator argued for Kinoti's side.
Daily Nation on Wednesday, March 4, reported that DPP Haji recalled the files of the two suspects for review at the last minute.
The magistrate, Kenned Cheruiyot, was forced to free Manduku and Safari after the duo failed to take pleas out of the drama that ensued. Cheruiyot stated that DCI officials had to seek court audience through the DPP's office.
"We cannot continue like this when we have no file approved by the DPP. We cannot hold a person who has not been charged and until such a time when the DPP and the DCI will put their house in order, I will direct the two to walk out and no one should arrest them," Cheruiyot ruled.
Before arresting the duo, Kinoti had stated that his office had completed investigations and handed over the file to the DPP in November 2019.
"I can assure you that the threshold is 100 per cent and not anything less than that. We are waiting for the approval from the DPP for arraignment in court of the criminals who we have listed as suspects, but as far as the DCI is concerned, we are absolutely done with our investigations," Kinoti stated.
The two leaders enjoyed a working relationship characterised by their joint fight against corruption, with the two travelling abroad for meeting with foreign agencies and collaborating to apprehend suspects in what was dubbed as the dreaded Kamata Kamata Fridays.
However, Haji, while speaking to Kenyans.co.ke argued that their relationship was still steadfast.
"We are okay and enjoy a good working relationship. The Manduku case was an unfortunate scenario," Haji disclosed.
This open war raises doubts on how the two will honour President Uhuru Kenyatta's call to have high profile suspects jailed in 2020.
BBC, on Thursday, January 16, reported that Haji, who met Kenyatta in a private meeting in the Coast on Monday, January 13, 2019, disclosed that Kenyatta challenged prosecutors to secure high-status convictions in 2020.
In the past years, high-profile suspects have been arrested, prosecuted for corruption but the conviction rate fell below expectations. On Tuesday, January 15, Kenyatta affirmed his war on graft, arguing that he would not relent to bring the suspects to book, directing the Judiciary to speed up the cases.
"I want to renew my pledge to you on this fight. I will not turn to the right or to the left. I will not soft-pedal or backpedal. I have been on the front line. And since I respect the principle of separation of powers, I have no powers of convicting the accused. I have done my part. And I will continue to do so. We cannot be a country where those who work hard are robbed of their profits by those too lazy to invest and produce," Kenyatta declared.Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission CEO Twalib Mbarak and Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji at an end-corruption conference at Serena Hotel on May 29, 2019.
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