African prosecutor illegally signed VBI, lawyer says
A lawyer has challenged the legality of an African Assistant DPP, who cannot practice in the local courts, signing Voluntary Bills of Indictment.
Hot shot lawyer David Cash argues that Ugandan David Bakininga broke the law when he purportedly signed the VBI for a Haitian man accused of statutory rape.
According to the Criminal Procedure Code, only the Attorney General or a legal practitioner acting on his behalf can sign VBIs.
But Bakibinga isn’t a legal practitioner, as he’s been denied the right to practice by the Bahamas Bar Association.
As a result, Cash argues that the VBI is invalid.
The challenge which is set to be heard next month by Justice Deborah Fraser could wreak havoc on the judicial system since Bakibinga and Nigerian Deputy DPP Nkiruka Jones-Nebo have signed scores of VBIs, although they are not recognized legal practitioners.
DPP Garvin Gaskin reportedly supported recruiting foreigners over qualified Bahamians. Yet, he won’t try to convince the court that the Africans have a right to sign the VBIs. He’s given that task to Timothy Bailey, a capable but relatively junior lawyer.
The decision to hire the Africans in 2019 over qualified Bahamians sparked a wave of resignations and transfers from the Office of the DPP, resulting in a serious manpower shortage.
The Africans each earn over $100,000 with perks, but Bahamian prosecutors have been unable to get promotions or raises.