EU donates 12 vehicles to boost free legal aid services

European Union Ambassador to Kenya Henriette Geiger. [Courtesy X: @EUinKenya] 

European Union Ambassador to Kenya Henriette Geiger has donated vehicles to the National Legal Aid Service (NLAS) to support access to justice programmes.

Geiger said the 12 vehicles are part of the financial support of about Sh1.1 billion granted by the European Union to the Government of Kenya.

The money will support the justice sector.

“It is the largest investment by the European Union in Sub-Saharan Africa to support the justice sector. Justice is to serve all the people, that is why we are supporting access to justice initiatives to reach out to all people irrespective of where they live,” said Geiger.

She spoke during the hand-over of the vehicles at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi.

The 12 vehicles are assigned to Wajir, Mandera, Lamu, Tana River, Garissa, Marsabit, Isiolo, Kisumu, Nairobi, Mombasa, Uasin Gishu and Nakuru counties where the EU is supporting NLAS to deliver free legal services to the public.

Geiger said that the EU is supporting NLAS under its Programme for Legal Empowerment and Aid Delivery (Plead).

The support is to ensure legal aid service is devolved to all the 47 counties.

Plead is supporting NLAS to implement the Legal Aid Act and the regulatory framework on legal aid with a financial contribution of Sh290 million.

Speaking on Tuesday, Geiger said that the investment will enable NLAS to effectively deliver its mandate of enhancing access to justice for Kenyans.

This will be done through mobile legal aid clinics, creating legal awareness and promotion of alternative justice systems.

“The support is meant to improve access to legal aid, enhance effectiveness of legal aid, ensure Kenyans are aware of their legal rights and how to access them and improve efficiency and effectiveness of alternative Dispute Resolution,” Geiger said.

Attorney General Justin Muturi, who received the vehicles on behalf of the government, said that offering free legal services needs collaboration and involvement of other partners.

Also present was Solicitor General Shadrack Mose, NLAS Board Chairman Musyoki Kimanthi, and NLAS Director Fresiah Githumbi.

Muturi said the support extended to NLAS will help reach out to thousands of vulnerable Kenyans in need of free legal services.

“The office of the Attorney General is working to ensure there is access to justice in every corner of the country. We want to continue giving a national legal aid scheme that is affordable, accessible, sustainable, credible, appropriate and accountable,” he said.

The AG further said that the vehicles are part of other investment by the EU to support NLAS which also include an engine boat for Lamu county, ICT equipment and office furniture.

Muturi revealed that through support from the EU, they have been able to implement the Legal Aid Act by enhancing legal aid and assistance especially for the poor, marginalised and vulnerable persons.

“Creating partnerships for effective delivery of legal aid remains an important aspect for us in ensuring that the marginalised communities can access justice. That is why we partner with other players in the justice sector to ensure justice is delivered to all,” he said.