Karua rubbishes Wako power demands

March 17, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, March, 17- Justice Minister Martha Karua on Tuesday lashed out at Attorney General (AG) Amos Wako who wants more powers vested on his docket to control criminal investigations.

Speaking during a constitution forum organised by the civil society, Ms Karua said the AG should be accountable and make use of the powers he already has.

“The Attorney General can direct police to investigate; he also has exclusive powers to prosecute and take over any criminal prosecutions,” she said.

Ms Karua said she could not understand what more powers the Attorney General needed since he had not exploited the ones he already had.

“I am wondering, what possible powers the Attorney General can be given under the constitution?” she queried.

The Justice Minister complained that government leaders were developing a new trend of giving excuses based on powers to run away from their responsibilities.

She said it was the right time leaders considered being accountable for their work and stopped giving excuses.

“Might it be in Kenya now that we are developing a fashion of saying it is powers I don’t have that is why I have not done what I am supposed to do?” she asked.

“We change everything into a circus and (turn it into) a joke,” she said. “I must account for the little powers I have as a Minister before you give me more powers.”

Ms Karua is proposing the inclusion of mechanisms in the new constitution to hold government office holders accountable and answerable to the public.

The Attorney General has previously complained that he is only mandated to prosecute after receiving investigation files from other government agencies.

“Prosecution follows investigation and the Attorney General is not an investigator, I have to wait for files handed over to me then act on them,” he said.

UN Special Rapporteur on extra judicial killings, Professor Philip Alston recently recommended that Mr Wako resigns, accusing him of perpetuating impunity in the country.

Mr Wako has since then defended himself and dismissed the report saying he has conducted his work as expected.

“There is nothing in Alston’s statement to support his conclusions about me; I am waiting for his interim and final report. What I am looking for are specific instances where the Attorney General has failed to prosecute,” he said.


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