NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 15 – Chief Justice Willy Mutunga and the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko (DPP) on Tuesday raised concern that poor budgetary allocations to the criminal justice system will hamper equality and the fight against crime in Kenya.
Speaking during the 2nd Annual Convention of the ODPP, Tobiko said lack of skills, forensic expertise and equipment are constraints the country has to grapple with in its fight against all forms of crime.
“In the area of investigation of crime, the lack of a functioning national forensic crime lab and forensic investigation skills have greatly hampered the ability of the police to investigate complex crimes. This may explain partly the huge number of unresolved crimes and acquittals,” he noted.
He said it was embarrassing that Kenya to date relies on old ways of collecting evidence instead of upping its game to cope with emerging and sophisticated crimes that require forensic expertise.
CJ Mutunga who opened the three-day convention being attended by over 300 prosecutors was also concerned over budgetary constraints that the Governance, Justice, Law and Order Sector has to deal with in its work to ensure there is justice.
Also attending the convention is the Director of Public Prosecutions in Uganda, Justice Mike Chibita and Tanzania’s DPP, Eliezer Feleshi.
According to Mutunga, inadequate funding has led to delay in delivery of justice and an overload on the skeleton staff who handle crimes in the country.
“The ODPP is making remarkable progress in the phase of serious limitations. … the impact of this deficit is not confined to the over worked staff of ODPP but to the entire justice chain because it results in excessive delays of conclusion of cases weakening the justice system,” Mutunga complained.
He suggested that criminal justice organs in the country should submit a joint proposal for harmonised pay to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.
According to him, all the organs should be operating under similar terms since one organ cannot function efficiently without the other. Tobiko noted that his office has only been allocated Sh4.8 billion for the three years it has been existing against the required funding of Sh11 billion.
The two pleaded with Parliament not to slash the funding to the offices since what they have been receiving in the budget allocations is already insufficient.
Though the country has to fight crime, Tobiko said it should be done in accordance with existing laws and in line with the Constitution of Kenya.
Noting that the country is caught between fighting crime and respecting the rights of suspects, he insisted that the law should supersede all other aspects.
“How do we fight crime within the context of our laws… how do we balance between the rights of the public to safety and security and rights of the suspects, and that balancing act confronts us daily.”