Eight courts under construction to be ready by June – The Star Kenya
The Judiciary will by June next year complete construction of eight courts at Sh2.7 billion.
The projects stalled owing to budget cuts that were seen as a deliberate attempt to undermine the Judiciary under former Chief Justice David Maraga.
In April, the Judiciary was among the gainers in the 2022-2023 budget presented in Parliament by former Treasury CS Ukur Yatani.
The Judiciary was allocated Sh18.5 billion, which is an extra Sh1 billion from the 17.7 billion it received in the 2021-2022 financial year.
President William Ruto has pledged his support to the Judiciary. Speaking during the launch of the annual Status of the Judiciary and Administration Report on Friday, the President said he would enhance the annual allocation for Judiciary for the next five years.
“We have committed to increase it by Sh3 billion every year to make sure we build the necessary infrastructure and hire the requisite number of staff and at the same time build ICT facilities so that our Judiciary can deliver on its mandate,” the President said.
Chief Justice Martha Koome, who launched the report, reiterated the collaborative effort they require from the Executive and the Legislature to improve access to justice.
She said the Sh18.5 billion allocated to them in the 2022-23 financial year was still not sufficient, and that decisive measures to correct and improve the historical underfunding will bring reprieve to Kenyans.
The completion of the eight courts will accelerate delivery of justice to Kenyans and ensure proximity to courts for the marginalised and vulnerable persons.
The eights courts are Homa Bay, Kabarnet, Marsabit, Amagoro, Githongo, Mbita, Eldoret, and Meru.
The Judiciary annual report says construction projects at Habaswein, Bomet, Othaya, Wanguru, Marimanti, Kandara and Narok were recommended for contract termination due to non-performance by the contractors. The projects are expected to resume in the FY 2022-23.
The Judiciary has also been able to leverage on technology to speed up delivery of services.
“Technology was identified as a critical enabling factor and the Judiciary made investments in the purchase of machines, equipment and software in order to facilitate judges, judicial officers and staff to discharge their functions and support the dispensation of justice,” the report says.
ICT booths have been installed in the High Court to support litigants access online court proceedings. As a result, 763 people were supported to appear in court online thus ensuring their participation and the progression of their cases.
The Judiciary at the same time procured and distributed 1,239 ICT equipment.
The equipment comprised of 539 laptops, 385 desktops, 70 printers, 25 bulk scanners, 185 UPSs, 35 TVs and 15 tablets.
In addition, the Small Claims Court was set up and established in 11 locations across Kenya. The stations are Machakos, Kajiado, Nyeri, Naivasha, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kakamega, Kisumu, Mombasa, Thika, and Meru.
Twenty five magistrates were subsequently assigned as adjudicators of the courts, thus boosting the capacity of the courts to hear and determine disputes.
“The SCC has radically transformed the adjudicatory space by expanding the doorways of justice and has so far resolved 9,315 cases, which are valued at KSh1.431 billion,” the report says.
The Judiciary has since partnered with the Nairobi Metropolitan Services to establish five SCC in the subcounties of Kasarani, Makadara, Dagoretti, Mathare, and Embakasi.
With insufficient funds being one of the many challenges impeding the efforts of the third arm of government, the report has recommended Parliament to amend the Public Finance Management Act to guarantee the Judiciary at least 2.5 per cent of the national budget to safeguard its financial autonomy.
The additional funding will support recruitment of judges, construction and establishment of courts in counties and sub-counties, enhancement of Judiciary security, up-scaling of technology, among others.
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