Why City Lawyer has resigned as a public prosecutor

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Nairobi-based lawyer Philip Murgor has resigned as a public prosecutor, just four months after taking up the job. Murgor  is a hard man to figure out, and quite a study in contradictions. In 2017, he wanted to be president, then he didn’t. He appears arrogant, standoffish, a man hardened by his profession, but in his conference room, he is quite personable. Mr Murgor, in a public notice last week, said he has ceased holding the position but did not give reasons for his decision. He, however, thanked Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji for the job. The three lawyers were to take up high profile graft cases, but are yet to represent the DPP in any matter.

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The three appointments were made on the same day as British lawyer Khawar Qureshi, whom Mr Haji hired to prosecute Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu over tax evasion, abuse of office and fraudulent receipt of loan security from collapsed Imperial Bank. The DPP had not returned our calls or texts by the time of going to press. “Following the formal gazetting of my appointment on January 16, 2019, I have not been assigned any case at all or provided with the required security. “In the circumstances, the professional and financial opportunity cost has become unaffordable to me as a legal practitioner,” Mr Murgor said in a phone interview. However, he said he was willing to return if offered the same terms as other special prosecutors.

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Speaking on Sunday, the lawyer said Mr Haji’s office did not assign him any case, despite honouring clauses of his engagement, which prevented him from acting against the DPP in any matter. He added that the DPP was yet to provide other special prosecutors, who were also given two-year contracts, adequate security. Mr Murgor, a former DPP himself, was appointed a public prosecutor in December alongside ex-Mombasa mayor Taib Ali Taib and Public-Private Partnerships Petition Committee chairman James Kihara.

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He was “open to consider an appointment similar to my professional colleagues Mr Waweru Gatonye and Khawar Qureshi QC, which will be on individual case basis, subject to a contract and with adequate personal security,” he said. “As individuals, Mr Haji and Mr (George) Kinoti are great guys, but the enabling environment has not been created for a senior and experienced advocate, who has plenty of choice, to be a standby prosecutor,” he added.

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