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Kenya hires foreign lawyer to fight corruption

Kenya has appointed top British lawyer and scholar, Khawar Qureshi, as a prosecutor in charge of corruption cases against high-profile individuals.

Qureshi has taught commercial law at Cambridge University and public international law at King’s College London.

He was appointed a visiting professor in commercial law at the University of London in 2006 and a deputy High Court judge in 2013.

In a notice issued on Tuesday, the Office of the Director of Public Prosections said it decided to appoint a special prosecutor through single sourcing after advertising for private legal counsel and being unable to find suitable candidates due to the unique nature of requirements and complexity of cases.

“There are a number of cases of great public importance involving state and public officers. In order ensure transparency and independence in dealing with these cases, to build jurisprudence, to allow for pragmatic interpretation of the Constitution, and to avoid conflict between the ODPP and the Judiciary, we deem it prudent to engage private foreign counsel to deal with these matters,” it said.

“The stakes in such cases are very high, and therefore it is necessary that the proceedings are insulated from public perceptions of political interferences,” the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said in a statement.

Dozens of civil servants and top business people are facing corruption charges.

One of the high profile cases is that of Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu Mwilu, who was arrested in August on suspicion of corruption, failure to pay tax and improper dealings with a local bank now in receivership.

She denies the charges.

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