A civil society group has protested a proposed amendment to the Independent Policing Oversight Authority ACT to enable police officers withhold privileged information when they are grilled.
A proposal has been made in the Statute (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill, 2016, where the National Assembly intends to amend IPOA Act of Section 7(1) (vii) of IPOA Act, 2011.
The targeted section confers powers to the Authority to summon any serving or ex-police officer to appear before it and to produce material deemed relevant to the function of the authority.
“…any serving or retired police officer to appear before it and to produce any document, thing or information that may be considered relevant to the function of the authority,” it reads in part.
However, the amendment seeks to amend this section by inserting “…provided that where the document, thing or information is privileged, the procedure for producing privileged document, thing or information shall be complied with.”
An official at the IPOA said they are concerned with the proposal as it touches on their core mandate.
Similarly, Police Reforms Working Group Kenya (PRWG-K) has faulted the move arguing it will limit material shared with IPOA with officers or persons summoned before the authority.
“It will hinder IPOA’s mandate, and also go against Article 35 of the Constitution of Kenya by denying the public its’ right to information,” PRWG-K said in a statement to newsrooms.
The group said Evidence Act, Cap 80 clearly provides for the procedure of submitting privileged documents, thing or information.