The process of establishing the inspectorate arm of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) has suffered a major setback after former chief justice Bernard Chunga declined to take up the chairman’s position in the unit’s implementation taskforce.
In a letter released on Monday, Mr Chunga cited pressing personal commitments that he is undertaking elsewhere as his reason for declining the appointment that was announced last week in a gazette notice.
“Many thanks for appointing me as the chairman of the taskforce. However, due to pressing commitments I have undertaken elsewhere, I regret to advise that I will not be able to undertake the appointment,” the former chief justice said.
Mr Chunga’s announcement will see the establishment of the unit that is intended to augment the operations of the ODPP’s Internal Compliance Unit (ICU) delayed beyond the slated 30 days that the taskforce had been given to make recommendations on the establishment and operationalisation of the Office of the Inspectorate Unit, formulate guidelines for inspection of the ODPP operations and prepare and submit a report and recommendations to DPP Noordin Haji.
Mr Chunga had been appointed alongside Rita Wambui Kuria (Vice Chairperson).
Other members are Abdirahman Abdillahi, Lawrence Nyalle, Louis Franchesi, Lilian Obuo, Miriam Ngari and Lucy Muhuni.
ODPP Act Number 2 of 2013 empowers the DPP to constitute a team of inspectors and issue guidelines on inspection of prosecution operations within the country.
BANGLING OF CASES
The appointment of the taskforce happened in the wake of increased bungling of high profile cases in the country, a trend that has been partly blamed on some corrupt prosecutors who allegedly strike deals with investigative officers and suspects to manoeuvre justice in favour of the accused.
Mr Chunga’s move to decline the appointment by Mr Haji came shortly after a group of lawyers filed a petition challenging it.
Chama Cha Mawakili (CCM), in its petition, cited the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission of Kenya (TJRC) Report which it said recommended that Mr Chunga should not hold any public office after allegations of infringing fair trial guarantee for members of Mwakenya and February 18th Movement. The two dissident groups were opposing the Kanu regime in the 1980s.
Mr Chunga, who was then a deputy public prosecutor and State counsel, denied the allegations but the TJRC report recommended that he should not hold public office.
At the same time, CCM said that the Ndung’u land report found that Mr Chunga had been illegally allocated public land in Upperhill, Kisumu.
According to the report, he was illegally allocated a government house in Kisumu (Upper Hill, LR No. 209/11965) and (LR No. BL/12/336).
The report recommended that the title deeds be revoked and the public land repossessed.
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