When money lack rains started beating Judiciary

Chief Justice David Maraga flanked by members of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) addresses a press conference at Supreme Court on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Cancellation of health insurance for all judges and other staff was the first pointer of a cash-strapped Judiciary.

In a drastic move, which was to see Chief Justice David Maraga and his staff use their National Health Insurance (NHIF) card or cash, Judiciary’s Human Resource Director L. Onyango said Treasury had not released funds.

 “This is to inform all judges, judicial officers and staff that the Judiciary medical services have been suspended effective June 7, 2018 due to insufficient funds, as we have not received money from national Treasury,” said Onyango in a memo.

On Tuesday, The CJ came out again warning that a crisis was looming in the Judiciary after Parliament slashed its budget by Sh17 billion.

All projects that were to be implemented this year, including digitisation of court records and shifting The Court of Appeal to Nairobi's Upper Hill will not happen due to the cash crunch.

Cases backlog 

Maraga said efforts to reduce the backlog of cases had also been undermined.

 “The undertaking by the Chief Justice to ensure that all cases above five years old are cleared by December 2018 is now a mirage. With the current budget allocations this will no longer be possible," his office said yesterday.

The Judiciary had requested Sh31 billion to fund its operations for 2018-2019 financial year, but Parliament reduced it to Sh14.5 billion.

Maraga said the money could barely support recurrent and development expenditure.

Some judges and employees yesterday told The Standard that the allocation was an embarrassment to Government.

“MPs want us to rule that their salaries should not be slashed as had been recommended by Salaries and Remuneration Commission," a senior judge who sought anonymity said.

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