Kenya’s new Chief Justice David Maraga says he aims to liaise with anti-corruption watchdog and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to fight corruption in courts.
Speaking at a meeting of the National Council on the Administration of Justice at the Stanley Hotel in Nairobi, Maraga says a war on graft in temples of justices would form a significant part of his transformation agenda, and that he is determined to succeed.
“We must have a plan that should be subject to continuous monitoring and evaluation. Each institution must take responsibility for its performance and the culture of buck-passing must end. We must ruthlessly hold each other accountable,” he said
The former appellant court judge said he has instructed the Anti-Corruption Court to create an electronic master cases dataset that would be used to curb the loss of court files under suspicious circumstances.
“I am asking the EACC [Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission] and the DPP to collaborate with the Judiciary in this project so that any of these agencies can click and know the status of any case at any one time,” he said.
Maraga also asked the office of the DPP to improve the quality of investigations and prosecution to prevent cases from collapsing.
“I have asked our judicial officers to make commentary on cases of this nature so that the blame can lie squarely where it should,” he said.
The president of the Supreme Court said the Judiciary had gazetted the High Court Division, increased the number of magistrates and started back-to-back hearings to reduce the backlog of cases.
“All these measures are beginning to show results as indicated by the 17 convictions EACC has registered this year alone — the highest number of convictions in any single year since EACC was formed,” he said
Additionally, he said he is already holding discussions with judges on injunctions, case delays, frequent adjournments, and poorly considered decisions on bail, bond and sentencing — issues that have exposed the courts to abuse by the corrupt.
From next month, Justice Maraga said he would officially launch the High Court Division, issue rules for that court and gazette wide-ranging practice directions, which will also eliminate forum shopping.
He will also initiate a daily Anti-Corruption Court bulletin to show who is responsible for what, among many others.
On next year’s General Election, he called on court users to coordinate in order to ensure fair, peaceful and credible elections.
Source: Daily Nation