The directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) has petitioned parliament over a funding gap/shortfall in their budget
With a delegation of technocrats, the director of public prosecution Mike Chibita, met the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga in a closed meeting over their budget.
Talking to New Vision shortly before meeting Kadaga, the accounting officer for the DPP Vincent Wagona said the DPP has a shortfall of sh62b in their 2019/2020 budget. The institution has been allocated sh34b only the 2019/2020 budget.
Wagona revealed that out of their approved structure of 833 staff, they have only 340 staff, which represents only 39% of the required staff.
According to article 120 of the constitution, the functions of the director of public prosecution include directing police to investigate any information of criminal nature and to report to him expeditiously, instituting criminal proceedings against any person or authority, and to takeover or continue any criminal proceedings instituted by any other person or authority, among others.
Wagona explained that because of being greatly underfunded, each of their prosecutors has an average workload of 600 cases annually.
Due to underfunding of the institution, wagona noted, the DPP doesn't have prosecutors in 40 established courts and lacks presence in a total of 30 districts.
Some of the operations/ interventions that are greatly affected by underfunding, according to the accounting officer, include clearance of case backlog, handling witnesses, prosecuting corruption and money laundering cases, fighting international crime, and sexual and gender based violence.
Wagona also pointed out the challenge of having their offices not being adequately funded and the institution continues to stay in rented premises for most of its offices including the head office at Workers House.
Due to underfunding, the institution is also stranded in implementing the innovation of computerized case management system which had started in 2016 is on a near standstill as it is only at 15 stations and absent in more than 130 stations.
"Government and Parliament need to seriously consider adding us more money. We need to increase our staffing levels and many other activities for improving our effectiveness," Wagona explained.
The accounting officer also explained that whereas government sometime back increased salaries for prosecutors, the increment was very marginal.
"For instance, the salary for a senior state attorney was increased to only sh1.7m from sh1.5m. The increment was very and that is they are unhappy. That is why they have now taken the case regarding their remuneration to court.