MOMBASA – Kenya on Wednesday called on public prosecutors from the East Africa nation to seek unity and change tact in combating organized crime which is rampant across the region.
Fred Matiang’i, Interior Cabinet Secretary told the prosecutors to also find ways to step up cooperation in skill development and capacity building in a manner that will allow the region’s personnel to be part of joint investigation teams.
“Now is the time to build strong interdependent relationships among ourselves,” Matiang’i told a symposium of the East African Association of Prosecutors in the coastal city of Mombasa.
“The nature and dynamics of the organized crimes we are dealing with require greater collaboration for us to succeed,” he added.
Matiang’i noted strong institutional partnerships across the region will ultimately crush the existing and emerging criminal networks and cells.
The Kenyan official noted that most of the security challenges go beyond regional borders, adding that collaboration will go a long way in improving the capacity of the region’s prosecutors in dealing with the existing and emerging transnational organized crime.
Matiang’i said the scope of organized crime warrants progressive strengthening of regional cooperation among investigative and prosecutorial agencies.
“The deployment of resources is critical. It’s high time the East African Community and these agencies look into various ways we can pool resources to spend across the borders in this endeavor,” he said.
However, he decried an inherent lack of political goodwill, which has largely hampered the sharing of intelligence information among investigative and prosecutorial agencies in the region.
“It’s unfortunate that prosecutors are often seen as the enemies of the bloc. As for us (Kenyan government), we have been supporting the office of the director of public prosecutions and I am optimistic that we will be the first country in the region to have a fully-fledged training institute for prosecutors,” Matiang’i said.
The forum brought together senior public prosecutors, ministers, police officers and judiciary officials from countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia.