The supremacy battle between the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) George Kinoti and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji played yet again in public last Thursday, July 21, 2022, after the latter dismissed the former as a junior officer.
Speaking at a press conference, Haji stated that Kinoti is not his equal, putting himself in close seniority rank with Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai.
“My relationship is with the Inspector General of Police, who is in charge of the National Police Service and whom under the constitution, I direct. The DCI is an officer under the IG. As such, my relationship should be gauged with the IG,” he said.
“If there is an issue with the DCI, then the IG will deal with it. In the pecking order, I deal with the IG and I direct the IG.”
While denying claims of a personal rivalry between them, Haji insisted that the two are 'not equals' to engage in endless disputes.
He noted that if the DCI boss has any issues regarding prosecutions, he should reach out to his (Haji) juniors, at the same level.
“I have quite a number of deputy directors who are at the same level as him. You can ask my deputy director in charge of corruption. There is another one in the homicides… Those are the people he should be dealing with," the DPP said.
The 'bare knuckle' presser, however, didn't come as a surprise as the duo's working relationship has grossly deteriorated in recent years, hurting investigations into high-profile cases.
Kinoti accuses DPP of forgery
In May, the DCI boss called for the arrest of Haji over alleged perjury.
The Kinoti-led directorate alleged that the DPP, while organising a meeting for stakeholders to deliberate on the newly formulated guidelines on Terrorism and Terror Financing Act, forged the attendance list to include the names of two sleuths who didn't attend the session that took place on diverse dates between February 21 and March this year.
In an affidavit sworn by Martin Otieno, the Director of Anti-terror Police Unit (ATPU), Kinoti alleged that the DPP also forged the officers' residence entries in the hotel where the meeting took place.
While poking holes into the guidelines, Kinoti claimed that the DCI, despite being the leading investigative agency, was underrepresented throughout the formulation of the document.
The DCI further told a Nairobi court that the consultant expert involved in drafting the guidelines was not qualified and only landed the job due to his relations with the DPP.
He urged the court to annul the guidelines, arguing they would expose detectives to operational risks.
Notably, the guidelines require detectives to, at all times, declassify their operation and mode of investigation, a move Kinoti argues would help terrorists escape the police dragnet easily.
Kinoti-Haji charge sheet row
A few days before Kinoti accused Haji of forgery, the detective had been dealt a blow in court after a judgment that barred the police from preferring charges against suspects.
The High Court ruled that though the roles of the investigator and the prosecutor are complimentary, the decision to charge rests with the DPP.
The judgement was hailed by lawyers as “a solution to taming some of the rogue investigative agencies that either come up with weak cases or framed up charges.”
However, the judgment was later set aside after an aggrieved Kinoti lodged an appeal at the Appellate court.
But the matter didn't end there as Kinoti would later protest what he termed as blatant defiance by the DPP to obey interim orders by the court of appeal.
In a protest letter to Haji, Kinoti asked the DPP to allow his officers to continue drafting charge sheets as ordered by the court until the appeal is heard and determined.
Kinoti-Haji clash over Cohen murder trial
The DCI boss in September 2021 faulted Haji for terminating investigations against Court of Appeal judge Sankale ole Kantai in alleged involvement in the murder of businessman Tob Cohen.
According to the DCI, Justice Sankale is a person of interest in the murder. He is alleged to have actively participated in the planning and cover-up of the killing by his alleged mistress Sarah Cohen, the widow of the deceased and the prime suspect in the murder of the Dutch tycoon.
Kinoti has been pushing for the arrest and prosecution of the judge with murder and forgery even as the DPP insists on a lack of sufficient evidence to prosecute the suspect.
“The DPP can only terminate criminal proceedings instituted by his office and not criminal investigations being undertaken by DCI while exercising its constitutional mandate,” the DCI faulted Haji.
DCI-DPP clash over arrest of former KPA boss
On March 3, 2020, a Nairobi court unconditionally freed former Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Managing Director Daniel Manduku after the prosecution failed to prefer any charges against him.
Manduku had been arraigned in court after spending the night in custody following investigations conducted by the DCI.
The DCI had arrested the then KPA boss for allegedly abusing his authority by unlawfully recommending to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) gazettement of Nairobi Inland Cargo Terminal (NICT) as a KPA peripheral facility to a firm that did not tender for the provision of container warehouse services in Nairobi.
However, drama was witnessed in court after the prosecution disowned the charges by the DCI.
The suspect's lawyers led by Nelson Havi and Julie Soweto fingered the DCI boss for abuse of the courts.
“It is because they want to preempt the charges and they want to twist the arm of the DPP to bring charges into court. The DCI will go and report to his boss, and we know who his boss is, ‘you see. I have done my work, it is the DPP who has refused to do his work’. Today the DCI has been exposed. There is an ulterior motive behind the prosecution of Dr Manduku,” said Soweto.