Hansard Highlights Week of February 1 2011

Posted by on 28th March 2011

Categories:   Hansard Analysis Members of Parliament MP Participation

This is a new regular feature where we will review past editions of the Hansard to highlight debates that are of particular national importance (and to show that we know that MPs do work from time to time).

I. We all know that KACC has forwarded several cases to the AG’s office for prosecution. But exactly how many files were delivered to the AG and when does he plan to prosecute them?

DETAILS OF CORRUPTION CASES FORWARDED TO ATTORNEY-GENERAL BY KACC

Mr. Kombo: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Attorney-General the following Question by Private Notice.

(a) Could the Attorney-General provide details of corruption cases that the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) has investigated and forwarded to the Attorney- General for direction since the appointment of the current Director?

(b) How many of these cases has the Attorney-General approved for prosecution, rejected and/or returned to the Commission and why?

The Attorney-General (Mr. Wako): Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. Since the appointment of the current Director of the KACC in July 2010, a total of 53 files were forwarded to the Attorney-General for direction.

Mr. Kombo: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I had a chance to peruse through the documents and to my pleasant surprise— In the past there has been a ping pong game between the KACC and the Attorney-General. They have been accusing each other of not doing this and that.  However, it would appear that since Prof. Lumumba became the Director of KACC, he has been agreeing on many cases with the Attorney-General. So, with regard to the Report that we have, they have agreed almost 100 per cent.

Mr. Njuguna: Mr. Speaker, Sir, emanating from the report given by the Attorney- General, you will note that about 53 cases were referred to his office for prosecution. Could he inform this House what deliberate steps he is taking to make sure that all these cases will be prosecuted even before his retirement this year?

Mr. Wako: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I hope the Member is asking for a further extension before I retire, so that I can deal with all these cases. The fact of the matter is that one cannot prosecute all the cases by the time he retires.  I am the last Attorney-General who is also the prosecutor. Since 27th August, 2010, I am wearing two huts, namely, for the Attorney-General and the Director of Public Prosecutions. That is why I recently called for the appointment of the Director of Public Prosecutions, so that there is a proper appointment under the Constitution of an Attorney-General who will only be the principal legal advisor to the Government. I am sure that the Director of Public Prosecutions, who will be appointed, will continue the good work that the Chief Public Prosecutor, Tobiko Keriako, has done. I can inform this House that I was with the Committee of Experts and as soon as I realized that the Director of Public Prosecutions will become a constitutional office, we immediately began re-organizing that office.  It is now really organized just awaiting the appointment. I am sure we will continue with the prosecution of corruption cases with rigor and gusto.

Mr. Kombo: Mr. Speaker, Sir, to successfully prosecute corruption cases is not an easy job. Part of the problem that we have had is that the KACC investigates while the office of the Attorney-General prosecutes. The people who have all the facts are at the KACC. Now that the Attorney-General is actually retiring, could he consider giving more powers to the Commission, so that it can prosecute? Prosecutorial powers should be given to the Commission because it is the one that investigates cases and is the only one that can best prosecute.

Mr. Wako: Mr. Speaker, Sir, my opinion on this matter is that now that we are going to have a Director of Public Prosecutions, a constitutional office, devoted to nothing else but prosecutions, he should continue to prosecute corruption cases…it is too dangerous for one institution to be charged with investigative powers plus prosecutorial powers.  This applies more to these type of cases. Unless you have checks and balances between the investigator and the prosecutor, some people will be taken to court with very little evidence just because the investigator has the power to prosecute. If the powers are separate, the investigator will be focused on obtaining sufficient evidence to allow that other person to come to the same conclusion and prosecute.  So, in the interest of justice, I am still of the opinion that in corruption and serious criminal cases, the distinction between the investigator and the prosecutor should be there. What is important is that the two should work in tandem. While respecting their independent functions, they should work in unison.

II. Now that the ‘shuttle diplomacy’ is seems to be crumbling before our eyes it’s a good time to assess exactly how much money has been spent on it and maybe time for proponents of it to cut their losses, or rather the tax payers losses?

GOVERNMENT POSITION ON VICE-PRESIDENT’S “SHUTTLE DIPLOMACY”

Dr. Khalwale: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the following Question by Private Notice.

(a) Could the Minister clarify whether the mission by the Vice-President to lobby African States to support Kenya’s bid to pull out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) reflects the official Government position on the issue?

(b) How much money has the Government spent on the Vice-President’s “shuttle diplomacy” so far?

The Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Onyonka): Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply.I wish to inform this House that the mission that was undertaken by His Excellency the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs of “shuttle diplomacy” across the African Continent was not with an objective of lobbying the African countries to support the deferral of the International Criminal Court (ICC) intended prosecutions for one year.  The “shuttle diplomacy” was with a view of bringing the process of justice for the election crimes back home, so that the suspects can be tried locally since we believe that even the ICC Tribunal appreciates the fact that a local tribunal is better than taking our people to be tried in Europe.  The ICC Prosecutor, Mr. Luis Moreno Ocampo, on 17th December, 2010, named six suspects whom he was requesting the ICC to issue summons to secure their attendance at the court. However, the Kenyan Government is not a failed State.

With the passage of our new Constitution, the Government felt that there was a necessary need for us to negotiate and have a moral position whereby the African Union, the Inter- Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the East African Community would have to support our country to solve the problem of the post-election violence peacefully by providing justice and at the same time making sure that we have reconciliation in our country. The grant of a deferral would, therefore, allow for sufficient time to revamp the key judicial institutions and other Government infrastructure.

Further, prosecution of post-election crimes at home would facilitate the trial of all post-election violence suspects, and not just those who are bearing the highest responsibility. Conducting those trials locally would send a very strong message both internally and externally, so that Kenya would no longer accept impunity.  So, even when the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs was doing the “shuttle diplomacy” within African, his agenda was not to demand that Kenya pulls out of the ICC. The agenda was to ask that the ICC allows us to look for a local mechanism, which would then make it possible for all the victims and all the perpetrators of the crime to face each other.

The information I have from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is that the amount of money that the Kenya Government spent for the “shuttle diplomacy” within the last two weeks is Kshs3,659,728. This amount does not include the small amount of money that the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs and the officers he carried along with him have spent from his Ministry. This is a budget which has been given to me by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which includes expenses incurred by officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who were with the Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs.

Mr. Olago: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Arising from hon. Khalwale’s point of order and the answer given by the Assistant Minister, it is clear that the answer to part “b” of the Question is not complete in the sense that it does not encompass the amount of money that the Government has spent. He seems to be concentrating on what his Ministry has spent.

Mr. Onyonka: Mr. Speaker, Sir, unfortunately, the answer is “yes”, because we were unable to get the Accounting Officer in the Office of the Vice-President and Ministry of Home Affairs to give us the full amount. So, the figure I have given is what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has spent.

Dr. Khalwale: Mr. Speaker, Sir, given that the Assistant Minister has admitted that his answer is incomplete, could I request the Chair that we give him until Tuesday, so that we can get a comprehensive answer to this very important issue touching on accountability? The reason for raising this point of order is that if we are going to accept only the expenditure that was incurred by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the taxpayer will not know how much was spent from the Office of the Vice-President and Ministry of Home Affairs, how much was spent from the Office of the President and how much was spent from Parliament.The Vice-President and Minister for Home Affairs was having, in some of those trips of his, accompaniments of up to ten people. Those people did not come from the Office of the Vice-President and Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Office of the President, alone. Some of them come from Parliament. Therefore, the taxpayer would like to know about the expenses incurred by those other persons who accompanied him.

III. The debate below highlights the need get the real statistics on how many extra judicial killings have taken place since the promulgation of the constitution?

STATISTICS ON POLICE SHOOTINGS SINCE AUGUST 2010

Ms. Karua asked the Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security:-

(a) Whether he could state how many people have been shot dead by police in the country since 4th August, 2010, giving the names and places they were shot and the circumstances;

(b) Whether he could also provide the identities of the officers involved and indicate the disciplinary action taken against them; and,

(c) What measures he is taking to ensure that the trend is curbed.

The Assistant Minister, Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security (Mr. Ojode): Mr. Speaker, Sir, as you are aware, I answered this Question yesterday. But we agreed that the format should be changed to relate to what was asked by my friend, hon. Karua.

Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to reply. Since August 2010, 18 people have been shot dead by police officers. The following are the victims and circumstances under which they were shot dead.

Ms. Karua: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, Sir. Have you noticed that the Assistant Minister has been answering his own question and not my Question? In part (a) of my Question, I have asked the Assistant Minister to tell us how many people have been shot dead by police officers in the country since 4th August, 2010, when we voted in the new Constitution…He has given me the names of the people who have been shot dead in circumstances that pointed to criminal intent on part of the police. So, he has modified my Question because he knows that police officers have shot dead more than 100 people since then. He has modified the Question, so that there can just be below 20 people.

Mr. Ojode: Mr. Speaker, Sir, I have given a very good answer to the Question. I cannot give answers on which I cannot make any substantiation. Apparently, from August last year to date, my police officers have not killed as many as 100 suspects as is being alleged by the Questioner.

Mr. Ojode: Mr. Speaker, Sir, indeed, the story is true. Those of us who have not experienced those kinds of carjacking and criminal activities are the people who are not supporting the services of the police. I would like to urge my colleagues: Let us not demoralize police officers. Let us all support the work of police officers.  The reason why I am saying that is because police officers are being bashed every now and then. The day you will be carjacked is when you will realize that police officers are doing a good job. But I will not hesitate to tell the police to do their work. I would like to request my colleagues that, as the police officers are doing their job, let us support them. Let us not demoralize them!

The other thing is that we are undertaking reforms. Yes, we will get rid of trigger happy police officers to clean the Police Force. We want a Police Force to mind about the welfare of innocent Kenyans. Otherwise, my appeal is that let us support the police officers to do their work.