Lawyers angry over DPP’s expat hirings


Tribune Staff Reporter

THE Judicial and Legal Services Commission has appointed a Nigerian and a Ugandan to top level positions at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. 

Nigerian Nikiruka Jones-Nebo has been appointed Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions and Ugandan David Bakibinga has been made assistant director of public prosecutions. The Tribune understands the appointments have upset some lawyers, including those at the Office of the Attorney General who believe Bahamians could have been appointed to the posts.

The government was not proactive in revealing the appointments; no statement was released to the public or media about them. The Tribune made inquiries yesterday after reports surfaced on social media. 

Cecilia Strachan, permanent secretary for the OAG, said the positions were first advertised in local media in January 2017 and the people who applied did not meet the criteria; none of the applicants were from the private sector, she said. She added that the positions were advertised again in January 2018 but this time they were advertised internationally through the Commonwealth Secretariat.

“Six persons applied, all from Commonwealth countries,” she said, adding: “Senior OAG officials interviewed the applicants and made a recommendation to the JLSC which then made a final decision.”

Ms Strachan said the government is in the process of promoting multiple people within the DPP’s office to assistant director of public prosecutions positions.

She said Mrs Jones-Nebo was the deputy director of public prosecutions in Nigeria and Mr Bakibinga was a lawyer at the Directorate of Public Prosecutions in Uganda.

For his part, Attorney General Carl Bethel said the appointees were appointed by the JLSC about a month ago. He noted the country has had foreigners fill senior positions before: Ricardo Marques, a Guyanese national, served as director of legal affairs in the OAG and later became a Supreme Court justice; Emmanuel Osadebay, a Nigerian, came to the country as a magistrate and later served on the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal; Francis Cumberbatch, from Guyana, became assistant director of public prosecutions.

The OAG has often struggled to retain top talent and sources noted the office has recently had a genuine void.