Chief Justice Maraga issues new directives on graft cases


Chief Justice David Maraga
Chief Justice David Maraga. Photo/Profile

In Summary

  • The CJ has also given directions that have many similarities with the manner presidential election petitions are handled, cutting down on long verbal arguments in court to save time.
  • The parties will also be required to first consider alternative dispute resolution, or out of court settlements, and only go though trial if they don't agree.
  • Any orders of the court must be obeyed to the letter, or the disobedient party may be penalized during the judgment, with orders to pay costs of the litigation or with a deduction on their court awards if any.

By Noah Otieno

Chief Justice David Maraga has released precise details of new powers of the High Court Division mandated to deal with corruption and economic crimes, giving specific orders on how graft cases are to be speeded up.

The President of the Supreme Court and the head of the third arm of government has also given directions that have many similarities with the manner presidential election petitions are handled, cutting down on long verbal arguments in court to save time.

In a detailed gazette notice dated July 20th, the Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Division of the High Court was directed to ensure just determination of graft cases, timely disposal of matters relating to economic crimes and the use of appropriate technology.

While pushing nearly all corruption and economic crime cases to the High Court Anti-Corruption and Economic Crimes Division, Maraga has also given procedures to ensure speedy delivery of rulings and judgments. For example, all parties in a case will now have to give soft copies of their pleadings and affidavits.

The parties will also be required to first consider alternative dispute resolution, or out of court settlements, and only go though trial if they don’t agree.

Any orders of the court must be obeyed to the letter, or the disobedient party may be penalized during the judgment, with orders to pay costs of the litigation or with a deduction on their court awards if any.

As Kenyans have seen before during the two major presidential election petitions in 2013 and in 2017, the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court will allow detailed witness statements to be used as the evidence-in-chief to avoid long trials. The court sessions will then only see minimal highlighting of the points in the witness statements and production of documents before cross-examination.

Again as seen in the presidential election petitions, parties in a corruption trial will give written submissions summarising all their arguments and each side will be restricted to the issues narrowed down for determination during the pre-trial conference.

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