Maraga defends judiciary on ‘weakest link in graft fight’ claims

Maraga defends judiciary on 'weakest link in graft fight' claims
File image of Chief Justice David Maraga. PHOTO| COURTESY

Chief Justice David Maraga has defended the judiciary against claims that it is the weak link in the fight against graft in Kenya.

Maraga, who shunned the blame game said the judiciary has made major strides in the number of convictions from the cases before court.

“Months of acrimonious exchanges and blame games between different state agencies only serves to deepen the already intractable challenges and further hurt the efforts to stop corruption,” he said.

The President of the Supreme Court indicated that there have been 46 convictions and 91 pending corruption cases.

He also said that 148,877 cases out of 170,186 had been resolved between Jan 2017 and Dec 21, 2018 saying the judiciary is working towards reducing the maximum limit of handling cases from five years to 2-3 years.

He was Speaking during the launch of the 2017/2018, status of Judiciary and Administration of Justice report at the Supreme Court on Thursday.

CJ Maraga said the report is a tool of accountability to the public as it provides a platform for feedback on how they have discharged their mandate.

The judiciary has come under fire from agencies such as the Director of Public Prosecution and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations as well as from President Uhuru Kenyatta all who’ve stressed on the need for a quicker expedition of cases.

Maraga cited the shortage of judges, magistrates, judiciary funding and manual recording of court proceedings.

“We have had challenges in hiring new members of staff. The court of appeal has 19 judges against the required 30. JSC has started the process of recruiting,” he said.

“Another area in which we are advancing is the digitisation of our records. Manual recording is a time-consuming activity and hampers the rate at which we dispose cases.”

The Judicial Service commission, stressed Maraga, has started the recruitment process of hiring 40 other judges as well as 100 magistrates to minimize the backlog and hasten the process.

Maraga also called on better cooperation between government agencies.

“There should be no tension between the arms of the government,” he said but at the same time saying they will not allow weak cases in their courts.

“If the government has a good case and I have said this before, we are under legal obligation to find in favour of the government,” he said.

He also appealed to the President to look into the state and condition of the courts and allocate funds to de-congest the courts.

“We have a piece of land in Kilimani, your Excellency of you make an exception and we get find we can construct the Court of appeal. Meru, Eldoret and Kisii are the most in need of courts” he said.

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Story By Allan Irungu
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