, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 22 – Attorney General Amos Wako is proposing far-reaching changes in the criminal justice system which include the establishment of a National Criminal Investigations Bureau to replace the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) which he blames for shoddy investigations.
In his submissions to the Task Force on Police Reforms on Wednesday, Mr Wako said the Bureau to be headed by a Director General should be formed under an Act of Parliament and its boss given autonomy and security of tenure to enhance efficiency.
“The agency should be established by legislation modelled on the National Security Intelligence Service (NSIS) which was formerly the Special Branch,” he said.
Mr Wako said the CID as currently constituted is incapable of handling proper investigations and contributes immensely to the poor justice system in the country.
“In fact, the entire criminal justice system depends on the competence and efficiency and the quality of investigations,” he said. “And this underscores the need for an independent, competent, professional investigative arm.”
Once established, he said, the Bureau would be headed by a Director General to be appointed by the President in consultation with the Prime Minister upon advice of the Police Service Commission and with the approval of Parliament.
He wants the holder of that proposed office to enjoy security of tenure and an autonomous budget.
Currently, the CID is headed by a Senior Deputy Commissioner of Police who reports directly to Police Commissioner.
If Mr Wako’s recommendations are adopted, the department will become autonomous and all those serving in it hired afresh just as it was the case at the NSIS and the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC).
Such an office, if created, would be structured into specialised divisions and/or departments which will be served by well trained, equipped and adequately remunerated personnel and specialist officers with the capacity and competence to investigate both conventional crimes as well as emerging crimes such as terrorism and human trafficking.
“The Bureau should be given adequate budgetary allocation to be able to procure and install a fully fledged and modern forensic crime lab,” he said in his submission to the Justice (Rtd) Philip Ransley-led task force sitting at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC).
The task force formed two months ago is winding up its sessions and is expected to present its final report to President Mwai Kibaki later next month.
President Kibaki on Tuesday said his government will fully implement the report in instituting what he termed as ‘comprehensive reforms’ in the police force which has been blamed for lack of proper structures and strategies of fighting escalating crime.
And when he appeared before the Task Force on Wednesday, the Attorney General publicly admitted that the public had “lost confidence” in the security agency because of such issues as corruption.
Mr Wako is also proposing to phase out all the 300 police prosecutors under his department and replace them with professionals to fast track cases in the courts.
“It is acknowledged that there is urgent need for the police to be removed from prosecutions so as to allow them to focus on their core functions of crime detection and prevention and maintenance of law and order,” he said.
The over 300 police prosecutors under the AG’s office prosecute over 90 percent of criminal cases in the Magistrates’ Courts.
In contrast, Mr Wako said, the number of State Counsels in the country presently stands at 73.
The State Counsels handle criminal matters in the High Court and Court of Appeal as well as prosecutes major corruption and serious fraud cases in the Magistrates’ Courts.
Also included in his 13-page presentation is a proposal to de-link the Director of Public Prosecutions office from his department to make it an independent body with its own budget and mandate.
Other key recommendations include better remuneration, housing and the establishment of an independent Police Complaints and Oversight Authority.
He also wants the minimum academic qualifications of new police recruits raised from D plus to C plus to make the police a professional body.