Prosecution of complex crimes, staff shortage hampering DPP Haji's work - Beaking Kenya News

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Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Prosecution of complex crimes, staff shortage hampering DPP Haji's work

 

Poor record-keeping, limited capacity to handle emerging crimes and the prosecution of complex crimes remains a major challenge for DPP Noordin Haji.


In a report handed to President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday, these challenges have been cited as the main challenges crippling service delivery despite the ODPP endeavouring to ensure efficient and effective delivery of justice to Kenyans.


Haji in the Annual Report said there is a lack of standardisation in the management of records in the ODPP.


This makes it difficult to collect data on newly registered cases, ongoing and concluded cases.


“The Office is working on centralisation of case file intake and the use of a standardised form that is streamlined across the counties and between the different departments,” he said.


Haji said storage capacity, damage and misplacement of documents, lack of security and difficulties in data retrieval among others remains a challenge to the automation of records.


 He said automation of data management processes through the establishment of a Case Management System would allow for data to be easily collected, updated, analysed and disseminated.


President Uhuru Kenyatta receiving the ODPP's 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 performance reports from the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.

President Uhuru Kenyatta receiving the ODPP's 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 performance reports from the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji.

Image: PSCU

“An automated system will also allow for the easy retrieval of information when needed,’ he said.


Haji said his office has a shortage of prosecutors with specialised skills to effectively handle the increasing number of complex cases especially in the area of transnational crimes.


He said the PTI and other relevant training institutions are expected to provide and enhance training in new and emerging areas of crime as well as new methods employed by criminals.


This the DPP said will equip prosecutors with the tools needed for the efficient and effective prosecution of emerging crimes.


According to him, most complex cases filed today entail voluminous materials of evidence.


These cases not only require a high level of expertise to prosecute but also demand input from disciplines other than the law in order to prepare and prosecute cases effectively.


“Adoption of digital disclosure of evidence in prosecution to ensure that accused persons are served with voluminous documents in a timely and cost-effective manner,” he said.


Haji said there is a need to recruit researchers and experts from various fields of expertise such as financial analysts, medical experts, forensic analysts, cybersecurity experts, procurement experts and technology experts among others.


“The office has inadequate research capacity which means that research needs are not effectively carried out. This affects the quality of prosecution as well as the formulation of key policy documents,” he said.


“We need to recruit more researchers and equip the PTI with the necessary facilities needed for research initiatives. The Office is considering collaborations with academic institutions in key areas of research that would enhance both the quality of knowledge and prosecution services in the Office.”


With regard to inadequate human resource capacity, Haji said the office has 996 employees spread across the country which is way below the required optimum number of 2156 staff.


DPP NoordinHaji and DCI boss George Kinoti.

DPP NoordinHaji and DCI boss George Kinoti.

Image: PATRICK VIDIJA

He said there is need for the recruitment of additional staff to increase the capacity of the office to handle its increasing workload.


“High staff turnover within the office continues to be a challenge primarily due to the unattractive terms and conditions of service. This has forced the Office to carry out frequent recruitment which is not only costly but also time-consuming and ultimately detracting from other strategic activities,” the report stated.


There is thus need for revision, adoption and implementation of a competitive retention policy coupled with the negotiation of favourable terms and conditions of service in consultation with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.


The report further said as the capacity and staffing levels of the Office grows, the existing infrastructural capacity becomes stretched.


This has led to insufficient office space, obsolete and poorly functioning equipment, making it difficult for members of staff to undertake their duties in a conducive and efficient environment.


“We need to negotiate for an enhanced development and operational budgetary allocation from the Exchequer, as well as seek additional funding from development partners,” Haji said.


He added, “Prioritisation of operational aspects to ensure that key activities can run while ensuring that any budgetary surplus can be channelled towards the lower priority areas”.


With regard to public perception due to the nature of its mandate, Haji said his office is exposed to negative reviews from the media and the public.


He said there is a need for enhanced outreach programs to educate the public on ODPP’s mandate and on related laws, guidelines and policies in the criminal justice system.

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