Witness Protection Agency receives vehicles and equipment to boost its operations
The Agency received a donation of vehicles and equipment to boost its operations in protecting threatened witnesses in Kenya in a ceremony held on 29th October 2020 at Milimani Law Courts.The donation of three 4-wheel drive pickups and office equipment from the European Union and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will provide daily support to protected witnesses across the country.
Operating since 2008, mandate of WPA is to provide special protection, on behalf of the State, to persons in possession of important information and who are facing potential risk or intimidation due to their cooperation with prosecution and other law enforcement agencies.
Speaking at the ceremony, the WPA Director and Chief Executive thanked the EU and UNODC for the vehicles which she observed will boost field operations and alleviate the current shortage of utility vehicles for Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu operational regions.
“The support received so far will enable the Agency deliver on its mandate to the wider justice, law and order sector and the public at large while playing its critical role of protecting witnesses,” she noted.
The vehicles and equipment are the latest example of support for WPA through the Programme for Legal Empowerment and Aid Delivery in Kenya (PLEAD), a partnership funded by the EU that is improving the delivery of justice services and use of alternatives to imprisonment.
“The Agency performs a significant role in promoting the rule of law and enabling the administration of justice by protecting the safety and welfare of threatened or intimidated witnesses. It‘s satisfying for the European Union to provide these vehicles given the direct impact they will have on the mobility of Witness Protection Officers as they go about supporting their clients, as well as office equipment to support the Agency’s operations,” the EU Ambassador to Kenya, Mr Simon Mordue, said during the ceremony.
Research and consultations by UNODC identified mobility as one factor affecting the delivery of witness protection services in the community, mainly due to a lack of suitable work vehicles.
“The Witness Protection Agency operates in often challenging circumstances. UNODC works closely with the Agency to respond to their priority needs for technical and practical assistance, and we’re pleased to have procured these vehicles, voice recorders and safes that will have a direct impact on their service delivery,” the UNODC Regional Representative, Dr Amado Philip de Andrés, said.
Also through PLEAD, the EU and UNODC have recently assisted WPA to produce social distancing stickers and various general Information, Educational and Communication (IEC) materials, such as a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) booklet and flyer in English and Kiswahili. The products will be useful in reaching out to the public and other stakeholders to outline available witness protection services.
Witness Protection Agency –0770 909 207 firstname.lastname@example.org
European Union – 0708 116 120 / email@example.com
UN Office on Drugs and Crime – Julie Marks 0771 743 284 / firstname.lastname@example.org