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Lumumba: Judges must declare wealth

By | February 10th 2011 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Cyrus Ombati and David Ohito

The Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission wants new appointees to the Judiciary to declare their wealth before assuming offices.

KACC director Patrick Lumumba said the Judiciary is the most crucial institution in the fight against corruption, and holders of top positions should be people of integrity.

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He singled out the position of Chief Justice, whom he said should be appointed based on various benchmarks, including the quality of at least ten judgements delivered.

"Declaration of wealth of this individual should be a must. This should also apply to judges and magistrates before they are sworn- in to serve the Judiciary," he said. He lashed out at the Judiciary as a wanting institution, that often threw out cases related to corruption, even where rulings are based on KACC evidence.

"Kenya losses between 25-35 per cent of annual budget through skewed procurement, pilferage and wastage of public resources," Lumumba said.

He likened the fight against corruption to a marathon where a baton is passed from one runner to the other.

He said KACC investigators hand over the baton to their lawyers, who pass it to the Attorney General’s office, which also hands it to prosecution, who hands it to the Judiciary with an anticipation of delivering it to the prisons.

"Unfortunately the Judiciary usually drops the baton midway, hence disrupting the race. That is why we call for change in the manner things are done there," he said.

He cited a case in which the High Court stopped a case against a parastatal official, whom KACC had wanted to declare his wealth, saying the decision could be a stumbling block to the fight against corruption.

Prof Lumumba said the commission would appeal against Justice Kalpana Rawal’s ruling because it went against international tradition in fighting corruption.

"We know that the court has a right to decide based on the evidence, but the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt the accused could not authenticate the source of his wealth. The judge misread the law," he said.

Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission KACC Patrick Lumumba judges
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