6 June 2014

Kenya: Ministries to Blame When We Lose Cases - AG

Nairobi — Attorney General Githu Muigai says lack of cooperation from ministries is to blame for lost cases filed against the government.

He says lawyers at the State Law Office have always done their best to defend the government, but get frustrated whenever inadequate information is provided by ministries.

Addressing journalists, Muigai said for effective defence to occur, all stakeholders should always cooperate with his office, instead of apportioning blame to lawyers at his office.

"The Attorney General's office does not own the litigation it conducts... it conducts litigations on behalf of ministries and they must have information; the evidence, the witnesses that they wishes the Attorney General to use in every specific case," he affirmed.

"The loss of cases in court is not a comment about the ability of the AG's office. It's a comment of about how serious the ministries take their own cases."

He went ahead to give example of Thursday's arrest and questioning of businessman Deepak Kamani, saying his office had provided the Ethics Anti-Corruption Commission with crucial information.

READ Kamani arrested by EACC over Anglo Leasing

"These investigations have been energised by the mutual legal assistance that was received from Switzerland in 2012. We received the legal assistance... we are the ones who handed this material to the commission. We are doing our job," he said.

"If they need more (information) and tell us from where they need it, we will bring it."

Several people are under investigation in connection with the Anglo Leasing scandal.

READ Anglo Leasing probe targeting more - EACC

"The law now as it stands on mutual legal assistance means we are able to receive intelligence, information and we are able to receive evidence," he said.

Kamani was questioned to shed light on the Anglo Leasing contracts; who signed them and who were legally bound by them.

"We needed to have that discussion and we were able today to have that discussion with him," EACC chairman Mumo Matemu said on Thursday.

He added that they would question other individuals in connection to the Anglo Leasing scandal as they continue to garner more information.

"This is a matter that will continue, we will continue to have discussions with many other people as and when the time is rife and when the names feature," he said.

The AG's office has been under sharp criticism on how it handled the Anglo Leasing cases, in which the government ended up paying Sh1.4 billion to two firms.

To boost morale within the State Law office, Muigai said there will be radical changes for State Counsel's terms and conditions after losing many of them who have quit joining independent commissions.

"State Counsels in commissions, lawyers in the Judiciary, lawyers in the parliamentary service commissions are paid far much better. The consequence of that is we have lost our most experienced staff," he lamented.

"Not to the private sector, but other arms of the Government; now there is a realisation that something radical need to be done."

The Attorney General was speaking after opening the civil litigation department sensitisation workshop on the dissemination of the civil procedure rules and the effect on Government.

"We are trying to have a dialogue as to how we improve the capacity of the civil litigation department to defend Government cases and to prosecute them efficiently within our court system and our region," he said.

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