Former Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko has described the public service as a graveyard for civil servants because of the allegations made against them in the course of their work.
He said public officers face allegations because the decisions they make cannot favour everyone – some people will agree with the decision, while other will not.
Mr Tobiko, who has been nominated as Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry, told the Committee on Appointments that from his experience as the public prosecutor, allegations against him were an expected occupational hazard.
“Virtually all of us will be bedevilled by allegations of integrity issues. That has become our society. Had the claims been substantive and backed by evidence, they would have filed affidavits and I would have responded,” Mr Tobiko said at his vetting by the committee chaired by Speaker Justin Muturi.
He was responding to a question by Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan about claims over his integrity, which had, however, not been filed in Parliament.
Mr Tobiko said that because every decision that the public prosecutor makes hurts someone – a suspect or a victim – the allegations were expected.
“My record speaks for itself. My integrity is not impugned by those allegations. That is the occupational hazard that those who are serving or have served or who will serve, have to deal with,” said Mr Tobiko.
He also cited his achievements at DPP: increasing the number of professional prosecutors to replace police, an increased conviction rate – especially for wildlife crimes – and the establishment of DPP offices in the 47 counties.
Mr Tobiko said his experience as an advocate handling big land cases in his earlier private practice and prosecuting cases to do with wildlife crimes was good preparation and makes him suitable for the post of Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry.
“I have the academic qualifications. Environment is as much science as it is about law,” he told the committee.
An affidavit had been filed against his nomination by Elizabeth Wambui Kamincha, who said she had been treated unfairly by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions during Mr Tobiko’s term.
Ms Wambui had been charged with malicious damage to property and acquitted and has again been charged with obtaining title by false pretence.
Mr Tobiko said her case had been handled by the Thika office of the DPP and he had no involvement in it.
The former prosecutor used his earlier education to demonstrate his resilience.
After failing to make it to public secondary school from Mashuru Primary School, where he sat examinations in 1978, Mr Tobiko went to Athi River Secondary, a private school.
He would score a Division Two at O Level, go on to score highly at A Levels at Kanyakine Secondary School and then on to the University of Nairobi, where he obtained a First Class in his Bachelor of Laws degree.