CJ Maraga says ‘endless adjournments’ to blame for backlog of cases


CJ Maraga says 'endless adjournments' to blame for backlog of cases
File image of Chief Justice David Maraga. PHOTO| COURTESY

In Summary

  • CJ Maraga said the backlog of matters is caused by the "endless adjournments of cases on frivolous grounds" urging judicial officers to ensure they are well prepared before going to court to adjudicate on matters.
  • On the issue of bond terms and sentences handed to suspects, Maraga asked courts to ensure bond terms and sentences are "commensurate with the offense."
  • The Judiciary has been on the receiving of accusations that it is hampering the renewed war against corruption by issuing orders favourable to suspects.

Chief Justice David Maraga on Monday admitted that the Judiciary has itself to blame for the pile-up of cases in courts.

CJ Maraga said the backlog of matters is caused by the “endless adjournments of cases on frivolous grounds” urging judicial officers to ensure they are well prepared before going to court to adjudicate on matters.

“You must have seen media reports on the Corruption Conference held at Bomas of Kenya last week. We (Judiciary) were heavily and roundly criticised mainly for delay and Corruption,” said the Chief Justice.

“…endless adjournments of cases on frivolous grounds are the very reasons that we have cases that stay in our courts for years on end. The public are fed up with us on this. We cannot afford to have this continue.”

He was speaking during the swearing in and induction of 47 newly recruited magistrates at the Supreme Court.

“Adequate preparation enables you to take charge and control of matters before you. Effective case management will enable us to effectively and expeditiously deal with matters and thus reduce the staggering backlog of cases in our courts,” said Maraga.

On the issue of bond terms and sentences handed to suspects, Maraga asked courts to ensure bond terms and sentences are “commensurate with the offense.”

“In criminal cases, familiarize please yourselves with the Bond and sentence policies. The reason why they were developed is because of great disparities which gave the impression of corruption or in competence. The bond terms and severity of sentence should be commensurate with the offense,” said Maraga.

During last year’s Jamhuri Day celebrations, President Kenyatta termed the bail terms being issued to corruption suspects as “ridiculous” urging courts not to protect impunity.

The Judiciary has been on the receiving end of accusations that it is hampering the renewed war against corruption by issuing orders favourable to suspects.

The President and the State agencies at the forefront of the graft purge have all separately made a barrage of statements criticising the Judiciary, with the recent blame game playing out at the two-day anti-corruption conference held at the Bomas of Kenya last week.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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