“I must emphasize that the Judiciary does not entertain or condone corruption within its ranks. You are well aware of the current war against corruption.”
This was the warning given by Chief Justice David Maraga when he addressed new resident magistrates in a swearing-in ceremony at the Supreme Court, Nairobi.
On Monday, Maraga embarked on an exercise to swear in 47 resident magistrates as a way of meeting the targets of addressing pending cases.
In his speech, Justice Maraga challenged the magistrates to conduct their duties and work on cases within the required duration. While referring to the accusations that have befallen the Judiciary due to the backlog of dragging cases, Maraga said:
“You must have seen media report on the Corruption Conference held at Bomas of Kenya last week. We’re heavily and roundly criticised mainly for delay and Corruption.”
On January 25, during the National Anti-Corruption Conference 2019 at Bomas of Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta challenged the Judiciary to assist the anti-graft investigators in netting the suspects in high profile graft cases.
This plea has however been considered impossible to execute by various lawyers due to the ethical binding agreement between lawyers and their clients, mandating the former not to disclose or share details of the cases.
However, Justice Maraga has attributed the delay on cases to ‘endless adjournments on frivolous grounds,’ noting that some cases have stayed for years.
He has also revealed that the image of the judiciary has waned as a consequence of such delays and that such is a practice he will not condone as the head of Judiciary.
At the time that judiciary has been under fire for the manner in which graft cases have been handled, the Chief Justice has said that the institution remains committed to fighting the vice, even in its own corridors.
“You are well aware of the current war against corruption. As a judiciary, we cannot be presiding over corruption cases while abetting corruption within our corridors,” he said.
He has urged the new magistrates to strictly adhere to the legal practice codes to smoothen their work and limit frictions between them and Judicial Service Commission.
The exercise is in line with judicial reforms spearheaded under the blueprint dubbed “Sustaining Judiciary Transformation (SJT) A Service Delivery Agenda, 2017-2021.”