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CJ David Maraga warns judges, magistrates on drug barons’ payroll

COAST
By Benard Sanga | February 15th 2017
Chief Justice David Maraga (centre) address journalists after opening the heads of court stations for magistrates and Judges from across the country at the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort in Mombasa on February 15, 2017. The forum discussed the new judiciary transformation agenda for service delivery. [PHOTO BY GIDEON MAUNDU/STANDARD].

Chief Justice David Maraga has vowed to act on Judges and Magistrates suspected to be on the payroll of drug barons and called on Kenyans with evidence to bring it to authorities.

Maraga said if drug dealers had infiltrated the judiciary to buy justice the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) will deal with it as a form of corruption.

"We cannot act on statements made out there. We call upon anyone with the evidence to provide it and fault us if we fail to act," said Maraga on Wednesday while in Mombasa.

He cited the recent sacking of 11 magistrate over corruption, misconduct and nonperformance as indication that no one found culpable will be spared.

Muslim and Christian clerics in Mombasa have over the years sustained their criticism over the judiciary's handling of drug related cases claiming that some judicial officials have been lenient or are compromised.

"The court should join in the war on narcotics. The Chief Justice must make sure that the trend where these drug barons are given small bonds is over," said Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa, Secretary General of Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK).

Sheikh Khalifa appealed to Maraga to lead the judiciary in the fight against narcotics trade in the country and criticized what he termed as "Judicial leniency on drug barons".

Representative of the Christian clerics, Bishop Joseph Maisha of Ushindi Baptized Church said court fines should be punitive enough to make the drug trade a high risk and low returns venture.

Mr. Julius Ogogoh, the executive director of Commission for Human Rights and Justice (CHRJ) said that Maraga should investigate the claims that drug barons have infiltrated the courts.

"We call upon the CJ to take these allegations seriously because how he deals with drug barons and scuttle their influence in the court could be his legacy," said Ogogoh.
Ogogoh said that Maraga should ride on the current political goodwill on the war on n narcotics to clean the judiciary or probe the reports that drug barons where buying justice in the courts.

"This will lead to an increase in the Kenyans confidence on the judiciary," said the CHRJ Director in Mombasa.

Last week, former Director of Public Prosecutions Philip Murgor also claimed that drug barons have infiltrated the Judiciary, the executive and security agencies.
He said that drug dealers were dishing out millions of shillings to politicians and high ranking security and judiciary officials to buy protection.

Maraga called on participants to provide information on the allegation to enable the Judicial Service Commission to act and warned that statements in the media were not evidence.

"We have no evidence on the claims but I treat the issue of Judges or magistrates selling justice as a form of corruption and the country has seen how we deal with it after the sacking of the 11 magistrates," said Maraga.

Mombasa has been on edge since January 30 when the state launched a massive anti-narcotics drive that led to the transfer of the Akasha brothers and two foreigners from India and Pakistan to the US to stand drug charges.

On Saturday two retired South African soldiers were among four foreigners detained in Mombasa following a raid by anti-narcotics on a hotel and apartment in Mombasa.
On Saturday two south African nationals Marc Anthony Faivelewitz and Barend David Nolte were arrested and are due to be deported.

Two Seychellois men Nelson Vivian George's Domingeuz and Nedy Conrad Rodney Micock were also arrested, in a simultaneous raid from an apartment building in an estate in Nyali.

Two foreigners and a Law student are among nine people detained following an anti-narcotics sweep by police across Mombasa's Nyali, Kisauni estates on Monday.
A special police unit dealing with drugs also seized 17 kilogrammes of heroin valued at Sh170 million and Sh18.4 million in cash.

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