Corruption delays completion of Sh10.5 billion Judiciary project

The ongoing construction of new Nakuru law courts on September 18, 2017. The modern facility was inspected by Chief Justice David Maraga during his visit to the courts on January 10, 2017. [Photo/JULIUS CHEPKWONY]

Corruption and procurement irregularities have caused delays in completion of the construction of Sh10.5 billion courts project.

This has forced the Judiciary seek for an extension of time from the World Bank for the project expected to be complete in December.

The five year project funded by the bank under the Judicial Performance Improvement Programme (JPIP) through a loan that is to mature within 40 years with a grace period of 10 years is aimed at constructing 30 courts (10 High Court and 20 magistrates) in a bid to bring services closer to the people.

The project being coordinated by Nancy Kanyango includes modern multi-storeyed buildings to host High Courts in Mombasa, Kakamega, Siaya, Nakuru, Voi and Garissa. “It is true the Judiciary has written to the World Bank through the Treasury for a two year extension,” said JPIP’s Communication Director Nicholas Simani.

Of the 30 sites, contractors are yet to begin work in Kapsabet and Kajiado.

World Bank website

Rehabilitation works under the supervision of the Judiciary Directorate of Building Services (BDS) are also to be completed in Molo, Makindu, Maralal, Muhoroni, Nyamira, Nyando, Oyugis, Kapsabet, Kibera, Kapenguria and Isiolo.

According to reports on the World Bank website, implementation of Phase 2 of the Kangema Law Courts was delayed in 2015 due to allegations of corruption in the tendering process. It was alleged that some staffers solicited unlawful payments from the winning bidder in exchange for receiving their ‘lost’ bid documents. The Judiciary notified the bank and referred the matter to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission for action.

This saw the bank implement measures to prevent future ‘loss’ of documents by ensuring multiple copies and e-copies were filed in the system.

In a report by the Auditor General for the year ended June 30, 2017, lengthy procurement process that led to delays in awarding of tenders was listed as one of the major challenges the project faced. IFMIS failure, court cases touching on the land where some of the projects were to take place, security and inadequate capacity by implementing units especially on planning, budgeting and reporting have also been blamed for the delays in implementation of some of the constructions.

During that financial year, 28 construction projects had been awarded through the tendering process and eight of them had not started by then.

Chief Justice David Maraga and his team have been traversing the country to commission pending construction works in various regions.

Justice Maraga last week commissioned the construction of court buildings in Mombasa, Siaya, Kakamega and Voi.

“The Judiciary is looking to construct new courts in each county to reduce the costs incurred by litigants from far flung areas traveling to attend courts,” said the CJ when he commissioned the construction of the Sh445 million Justice Tower in Mombasa.