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I’ll fight tooth and nail so charged governors can’t resume office – DPP

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DPP Noordin Haji has said governors charged with graft and other major offences should not be allowed back in office until they are acquitted.

He said he would fight “tooth and nail” all the way to the Supreme Court to overturn the law that allows them to return to office.

It’s frustrating to charge governors and hard to convict, despite the outcry that counties are the new bastions of graft, the DPP said.

Haji said unlike top national officers, governors resume office once charged. They tamper with witnesses, mostly county employees.

Prosecuting governors will be a waste of time if they are not compelled to leave office until their cases are determined, the DPP said.

“It defeats the purpose,” DPP told the Star in an interview. “So until I get clarity on that, I don’t want to waste public money. We charge these people, and then after days they are back in office, frustrating us. And the prosecutors are blamed.”

In an apparent reference to Migori governor Okoth Obado’s murder trial, Haji expressed regret that county chiefs are allowed back into public office, even after being charged with capital offences.

Read: Okoth Obado released on Sh5m cash bail in Sharon’s murder

Haji has sought a constitutional interpretation of Section 62 ( 6 ) of the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Act (ACECA), which judges have cited to allow constitutional office holders and elected leaders back into office.

“I am going to fight tooth and nail all the way to the Supreme Court on this issue,” Haji pledged. “In my opinion, Section 62 is unconstitutional by trying to differentiate state officers from public officers. The Constitution is clear the two are the same.” Haji said the Constitution envisaged a deputy governor for such situations. He is considering petitioning Parliament to amend the section.

Since taking office, Haji has charged only one governor with graft, Busia’s Sospeter Ojaamong.

The DPP said his office has received requests concerning prominent Kenyans being sought by the US over links to the notorious Akasha drugs family. They were extradited to the US and gave up their Kenyan networks and contacts in exchange for lighter sentences. “We have had interactions with them [US officials], there have been questions and there are areas we need to cooperate,” he said.

Once we agree on how to proceed, then formal extradition requests will be made by the US,” the DPP told the Star.

Read: Ojaamong, nine others in court on corruption charges

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